In 1882, the first Israeli pioneers turned to Baron Edmond de Rothschild to request his assistance. Times were hard, and many of these people, who made their lives in Israel and saw themselves as it first pioneers, had become chronically unwell, with many, failing to survive.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild, known during these times as the ” Benevolent Provider”, was the owner of the world famous Chateau Lafite Winery in Bordeaux.
Representatives of the Baron sent to Israel to assess the growing conditions, returned with favorable reports that the climate in Israel was similar to Bordeaux, and recommended planting vineyards for the production of wine.
In 1889, in accordance with instructions from the Baron de Rothschild, construction got under way at the winery in Rishon Lezion. By 1890, construction of the first section of the winery was already completed, and in August, the first grapes were harvested.
Construction of the Zichron Yaacov Winery got under way in 1891, its first harvest taking place the following year. The huge engineering project included excavation of six enormous underground cellars large wine cellars in Givat Zammarin.
In addition to the cellars, the winery also had its own well that used a sophisticated steam engine to pump fresh water to the winery. The pump, as well as a huge flour mill, was also placed at the disposal of the residents of Zichron Yaacov.
The first communities founded in the land of Israel, established by the immigrants who arrived as part of the first wave of Aliyah, were totally dependant on income from viticulture and wine produced in the vineyards.
Both the Rishon Lezion and Zichron Yaacov Wineries produced wine under the Ottoman rule, the British Mandate, and after the founding of the State of Israel. Also during the two World Wars, local unrest and all of Israel’s wars, the winery worked continuously, without a single break in production.