the roots of the seed
Bat Shlomo Vineyards is proud of its deep roots. We are dedicated to the utmost standards and continuously strive to create fine wine that is worthy of our heritage.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild
In 1887, the great Jewish benefactor, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, embarks on his first first visit to the land of Israel. During a 10-day tour the Baron makes his intentions and convictions known. He speaks of the importance of working the land, being connected to it, proving to the world that the Jewish people are strong and resilient farmers. The Baron then decides to found ‘Arbeiter Shulla,' a training school for farm workers. Two years later, graduates of this establishment will found and settle Bat Shlomo.
Working the land in Israel
Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who believes that the production of kosher wines will create a strong economic base for the newly-formed Jewish community, imports vines from the south of France. He commissions French wine experts to choose varieties of grapes that can withstand the hot climate in the Holy Land. The experts select such varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Carignan, Mourvedre, Muscat, Semillon and Grenache. From time to time, they visit Israel to school the Jewish pioneers in the art of winemaking.
Bat Shlomo established
With its first stone houses complete, the new settlement is named after Betty Salomon (Shlomo) de Rothschild, the Baron’s mother. Fifteen graduates of the Arbeiter Shulla move in to the new buildings, eager to follow the call to build and cultivate the land of Israel. They plant thousands of vine seedlings and fruit trees. Within the next few years, additional houses are built, as well as a synagogue, mikveh and school house to serve the growing community. The synagogue’s cantor also serves as the town’s kosher butcher and as Hebrew teacher. All in all, thirteen buildings line Bat Shlomo’s main street, bringing good fortune to the passionate farmers.
Grapes for kosher wine
The Baron pushes for the production of kosher wine to further create a link between the European Jewish community and the Zionist enterprise, and a new winery is established in Zichron Yaakov. Bat Shlomo’s whole crop of grapes is sent to the winery, to be used for its first batch of wine. To ease future delivery to the winery, a special tunnel is built underground, leading straight to the winery’s cellars.
Land of wine, milk, honey and innovation
Dr. Haim Hissin, of the Bilu society, visits Bat Shlomo. In his writings he recounts a colony consisting of 19 admirable families, toiling in joy while building and cultivating the land. He tells of 1000 acres of vines, 200,000 seedlings, and rows of citrus plantings, almond trees, olive trees and vegetables. Dr. Hissin counts 150 goats and 100 sheep, and an apiary, producing honey. He is impressed by a special steam engine used to pump water from a nearby pond. It is a land of wine, milk, honey and innovation.
After a difficult decade where crops were destroyed due to phylloxera, a pest living on grapevines and leaves, new residents arrive to make Bat Shlomo their home. The settlement, now thriving due to the addition of working hands, enjoys a period of prosperity. Among the newly hired workers is one David Green, later to be named David Ben-Gurion, who will become Israel’s first prime minister. Seen in the image (right) wearing an apron.
Bat Shlomo synagogue
The renowned Jewish scholar and first rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook, visits Bat Shlomo with a delegation of Jewish scholars. They are greeted by Dr. Mordechai Levitas and his wife, Anna. The couple serves the delegation loaves of freshly baked bread and Anna’s famous Sephardic-style cheese. Later, the whole parish assembles in the synagogue to hear a sermon by Rabbi Kook, and pledge their support for 'Hebrew labor' (Avoda Ivrit) in the neighbouring settlements.
The Baron's last trip to Israel
In his fifth and last visit to the land of Israel, Baron Edmond de Rothschild hosts residents of Bat Shlomo aboard his ship and visits the settlement. He advises the farmers to consider expanding the farms to include goat herding and take advantage of the surrounding natural woodland, and also expand their vineyards.
Baron Edmond James de Rothschild dies in Paris in 1934, leaving a legacy which includes the reclamation of nearly 500,000 dunams of land and almost 30 settlements in Israel. In 1954 his remains and those of his wife are brought to Ramat HaNadiv in Zikhron Ya'akov.
Notrim during the pogroms
The riots and pogroms of 1936 convince the settlers to employ Hebrew workers, exclusively. The 13 Bat Shlomo families form a partnership with the Hebrew Mizrachi group, employing them to help farm the land. The group establishes a camp outside of Bat Shlomo and become part of the community. The pogroms also make it necessary for the town to have night watch officers, called Notrim, to safeguard the community.
State of Israel is established
Declaration of establishment of the State of Israel is signed on May 14, 1948. Bat Shlomo’s founding families achieve their own independence as the land is signed to their name. Bat Shlomo’s pioneers take full responsibility for their farmsteads and surrounding lands, cultivating and fostering them to this day, fulfilling the dream of Jewish enterprise in Israel.
Original watch tower
Israel's Ministry of the Interior declares Bat Shlomo a national site, due to its importance to the immediate environment and to the development of the colonization of the Land of Israel.
Elie and Ari partner up
Entrepreneur, Elie Wurtman, partnering with the Napa Valley winemaker, Ari Erle, found the new Bat Shlomo Vineyards. They revitalise the land and fulfill de Rothschild's legacy by replanting the fields with 15,770 seedlings in a variety of grapes, making them into elegant wine fit for a baron.
Regavim agricultural education
Keeping up Baron de Rothschild's tradition of involvement with the community and strengthening Jewish connections to the Land of Israel, the new Bat Shlomo Vineyards takes the Regavim Program under its wing by providing scholarships and grants. Regavim, a high-school agricultural education program, instills a highly developed work ethic and a sense of responsibility that will serve its young students throughout their lives as both citizens of the State of Israel, and as citizens of the world.
2000 year-old winemaking site
As part of renovations of Bat Shlomo Vineyards’ new headquarters, an archaeological dig is funded by Elie. The dig unearths remnants of an ancient Jewish settlement dating back to the Roman period. Artefacts discovered include pieces of pottery, an ancient two-level ceramic oven, and a basin made to collect liquids, presumably for winemaking. This is the first dig of its kind in the old settlement of Bat Shlomo, revealing once again its heritage and historical significance.