In 1882, Michael and Malka Chamiletzki took their first steps in Zichron Yaakov after emigrating from Lithuania. Michael was chosen by Baron Rothschild to plant vineyards in the region, and the harmonious and deep relationship between the family, the land, and the vineyard began from that day on. The family settled in nearby Shefaya, now surrounded by vineyards, and began to cultivate the land and grow vines. In 1925, the family hosted poet Chaim Nahman Bialik. To thank them for their warm hospitality, he suggested they adopt the name “Tishbi” – the acronym of Toshav Shefaya B’Eretz-Israel (resident of Shefaya in the Land of Israel).
In 1984, the Israeli wine industry experienced a crisis, and the price of grapes slumped. Moreover, no winery was willing to purchase large quantities of grapes. At that time, the market was flooded with Muscat grapes – a variety which made up the lion’s share of the family’s produce. Following the crisis, I decided to leave the Carmel Mizrahi cooperative and open my own small winery. Tending vineyards and producing wine myself seemed the natural thing to do at the time. Initially, the winery was called the Baron Wine Cellars after Baron Rothschild, but we later changed the name to our family name – the Tishbi Winery.
Today all the members of our family work in the winery. My wife, Nili, runs the winery store and Visitors Center. My son, Golan, is the winemaker and Vice President. Golan grew up with the winery, and the winery grew thanks to him. When we decided to establish a distillery here, he traveled to Cognac in France, studied the “alembic” distilling method, and implemented it for producing brandy aged in oak barrels. Thanks to our brandy, we are held in high esteem in Israel and overseas and were awarded the title of World’s Best Brandy in the IWSC contest in London. My daughter, Oshra, traveled the world and developed our international market, established our cafe and wine store in the center of Zichron Yaakov, and created her gourmet line of products, “Fine Foods by Oshra Tishbi”. My oldest son, Michael, who is a lawyer by profession, is also involved in cultivating the family’s vineyards. Our family’s shared efforts and dedication create the perfect balance in the winery between professionalism and family warmth.
In 2010, the winery began to import the premium chocolate brand, Valrhona, from France, and enter the professional chocolate and baking worlds. At the same time, a bakery with a Le Panyol oven, also brought from France, was built on the site. Likewise, the winery imports the Cruzilles and Sosa brands, producers of gourmet professional baking products.
Since then the winery has grown and developed, and now produces around one million bottles a year. The winery also has a restaurant and the BBQ Garage, as well as a Visitors Center which offers tours of the winery and vineyards along with wine and chocolate tastings.