The Terravino Lifetime Award for Services to the Israel Wine Industry was awarded to Abraham Ben Moshe. The prize was announced during the Gala event ‘Tasting Gold,” when the gold medal winners of the Terravino 2013 Competition were offered for tasting.
From 1986 until 2002 he was the Managing Director & CEO of Carmel Mizrahi (now known as Carmel Winery)and SCV des Grandes Caves (then, the wine growers cooperative.) When he joined, Carmel was in the middle of serious financial problems. This threatened to pull the whole industry down. There had been four managing directors in quick succession and Ben Moshe arrived with both Carmel and the industry as a whole, at a low ebb.
Ben Moshe reported to Pessah Grupper, the ex Minisiter of Agriculture, who was Chairman of SCV des Grandes Caves. Together they brought stability and sound financial and marketing practices.
Abraham Ben Moshe created the Rothschild label and then Private Collection. These were then the premier labels of Carmel. Both had illustrations of Baron Edmond de Rothschild on the label. He also created the Selected label, which became the largest selling brand in Israel. This label featured mosaics from Bet Shean. These were brands that played a prominent part in the wine revolution of the 1990’s.
Ben Moshe was the pioneer of the Negev being the first to plant a modern day vineyard (Ramat Arad vineyard), near Tel Arad in 1988. It was his decision to expand Carmel’s vineyards to the Upper Galilee in the late 1990’s. Today the Upper Galilee is the source of most of Carmel’s finest wines. It was also his vision to build what was then called Ramat Arad Winery, which was later to receive worldwide acclaim as Yatir Winery.
Many people in the today’s wine industry, learnt their trade during time spent at Carmel. This is particularly noticeable with the list of winemakers who passed through his hands:
Israel Flam, chief winemaker of Carmel, now part of Flam Winery.
Mended Gil, winemaker at Rishon Le Zion Cellars
Philippe Lichtenstein, winemaker of Arza Winery
Arieh Nesher, winemaker of Tabor Winery
Arkadi Papikian, winemaker of Amphorae Winery
Shiki Rauchenberger, winemaker of Teperberg Winery
Ed Salzberg, chief winemaker of Barkan Winery
Gil Shatsberg, winemaker of Recanati Winery
Zvi Skaist, winemaker of Jerusalem Winery
Amram Surasky, winemaker of Villa Wilhelma Winery
Chaim Wachtenchaim, winemaker of Rishon Le Zion Cellars
Ben Moshe is 76 years old and lives in Ra’anana. He was born in 1937. He studied Economics and Business Management. Before joining Carmel, he was manager of the Food Dept. in the Trade & Industry Ministry and Managing Director of the Shalom Tower for many years. Amongst other positions he held were Managing Director of the Citrus Council, Chairman of the Wine Institute and Director of Bank Leumi.
Haim Gan, CEO of Ish Anavim, and organizer of Terravino 2013 when presenting the Terravino Lifetime Award, said: “Abraham Ben Moshe was the person that saved the Israel wine industry in the 1980’s.”
Terravino is Israel’s main international wine competition, which is organized annually.