The Carmel Winery Tour

June 20th 2014

Carmel Winery

A visit to the Carmel Winery in Zichron Yaakov combines extremes in history with extremes in scale, as the Carmel Winery is both the oldest and the largest winery in Israel. This facility produces an astounding 15 million bottles of wine each year. Among these 15 million bottles are wines sold under the Selected label, which is the best-selling brand of wine in Israel. Wines from the Carmel Winery are also the most well-known throughout the world, as they are exported to 40 different countries.

The Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Zichron Yaakov’s principal benefactor, Edmond Baron De Rothschild, who was already involved in the wine industry as the owner of the French wine estate Château Lafite in Bordeaux. Today, Carmel’s wine-making operations span the entire country. Carmel owns nearly 3,500 acres of vineyards throughout Israel. Carmel operates large wineries in Rishon LeTzion, near Tel Aviv, as well as in Zichron Yaacov, on the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. Carmel also owns two boutique wineries, Kayoumi in the Upper Galilee and Yatir Winery in the Negev. These modest operations make batches of hand-crafted wines on a much smaller scale.

In Carmel Winery’s Zichron Yaakov location, the Carmel Wine & Culture Center welcomes visitors to its campus. The Carmel Wine & Culture Center includes a wine shop, two rooms that were specially designed to enhance the wine-tasting experience, a small theater for screening films about the winery, and a barrel room that is part of the underground cellars built by Baron Rothschild in the 19th century.

There are four levels of tours at Carmel Winery, so each visitor can choose the experience he or she is looking for. Whichever tour package you choose, you’ll learn a lot about the history of winemaking in Israel from the late 19th century until today. You’ll also be able to see how wine is made on a large scale and will get a glimpse into a small, modern production facility that makes exclusive brands of wine for Carmel.

Choose from the basic hour-long Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting, the hour-and-a-half-long “Winery Tour and Wine Workshop” with a wine specialist, the two-hour-long “Advanced Tour and Wine Workshop” that includes fresh bread, cheeses and vegetable platters, or the four-hour “Special VIP Tour.” Be sure to ask your booking agent make the appropriate arrangements in advance of your visit.