In 1882, Michael and Malka Chamiletzki first set foot upon the land of Zichron Yaacov, after emigrating from Lithuania. He was chosen by Baron Edmund de Rothschild to plant and develop vineyards in the area. The family settled in nearby Shefeya, which is today surrounded by numerous vineyards, and began to cultivate the earth. And thus began the close and harmonious bond between the family and the earth and vineyards they planted and nurtured. In 1925, the family hosted the famous poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik. In honor of their warm hospitality, the poet proposed a new, Hebrew family name: “Tishbi” – an acronym standing for “a resident of Shefeya in Israel”.
Like his parents before him, my father, Yisrael his wife Mina Tishbi, also spent their entire lives growing and caring for their vineyards and olive trees, as well as making and selling cheeses and dairy products, made from the milk of their own cows. At the beginning of the 80s, the wine industry underwent a severe crisis and the price of grapes dropped drastically. As a result of the crisis, I decided to open a small winery of my own. At first, the winery was named “Baron Wine cellars”, after the Baron de Rothschild, and was later changed to “Tishbi”.
Today, the entire family works at the winery. My wife, Nili, manages the winery store and Visitors Center. My son, Golan, is the winemaker and Vice President of the winery. When we decided to set up a distillery at the winery, he travelled to the Cognac area in France, studied the alambique (alembic) distillation process, and began producing our brandy, which is patiently smoked in oak barrels. This brandy has brought us numerous awards both in Israel and abroad, along with the Best Brandy title at the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition), held in London. My eldest son, Michael, is a lawyer and also takes care of vineyard growth and cultivation. Our daughter, Oshra, travelled extensively abroad and then decided to open up the global market to the winery, establishing our café and wine store in Zichron Yaacov and creating a line of gourmet food products: “Fine Foods by Oshra Tishbi”. Efrat, Michael’s wife helps design the labels for the winery and raises the next generation, Dan and Yoav Tishbi. Karen, Golan’s wife, graces the winery with her functional and decorative ceramic art, and raises their three children, Shai, Nadav and Adi.
The combined effort and dedication of our family bring just the right balance of professionalism and warmth to our winery (my addition – to tie in the last sentence). And after all, family is everything.