It all began with an individual named Mayor Amschel Rothschild in the late 18th century. He was a merchant in the ghetto area of Frankfurt and had five sons. The sons’ names were Nathaniel, James, Amschel, Carl, and Salomon. While raising his sons, Mayor was diligent in teaching them about business.
To materialize his own business plans, Mayor sent four of the children to the four European capitals: Nathaniel to London, James to Paris, Carl to Naples, and Salomon to Vienna.
However, the youngest, Amschel Junior, stayed at home with his father. The entire family maintained a very close relationship and kept up a constant connection. Additionally, they were the first to exchange information quickly and effectively. They could anticipate any new transformations that would sweep across Europe with their ability to deliver fast communications.
From the English line of the family, Baron Nathaniel moved to Paris in 1850 to work for his uncle’s banking business. He wanted to serve his wine to his guests, so he purchased Château Brane Mouton in Pauillac in the heart of Bordeaux at an auction in 1853. Baron Philippe named it after himself and called it Château MoutonRothschild.
After his death in 1870, his son Baron James inherited the estate, and after that, Baron Henri, his grandson. In 1922, Baron Philippe de Rothschild was born. He was the youngest son of Baron Henri, and he took the estate over with an idea to introduce state-of-the-art technology.
The estate was still running on candlelight and well-water, so he began to modernize it. During this time, the estate was going through a difficult moment, and the vineyards were suffering. Philippe worked tirelessly to restore the reputation back to the Château. In 1924, he insisted that the wine should be put into bottles rather than barrels and that the bottling should be done at the Château.
He was also an art lover and was friends with some of the most famous artists of the time, such as Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. Because of his connections, he was able to get the Mouton Rothschild label a more creative design.
In the late 1800s, Baron Edmond de Rothschild helped establish one of the oldest wineries in Israel that still works today. Located in Rishon LeZion, the winery was founded with the goal of producing high-quality wines that would rival those of France. Since its inception, the winery has been dedicated to perfecting the art of winemaking, and its wines have won numerous awards. Today, the winery continues to produce some of the finest wines in Israel, and its wines are enjoyed by people around the world. Thanks to Baron Edmond de Rothschild’s vision, the winery has become an important part of Israeli culture and heritage.
In addition, Baron Philippe operated the Theatre Pigalle from 1924 to 1931. He even co-directed the film Lac aux Dames, one of the earliest talking movies made in France in 1932. In 1930, he decided to launch a vintage under a new name – Mouton Cadet. The name literally means the younger son of the family.
It still held the same standards as the Château label. He offered it to a select few friends and clientele, and it was an immediate success. In addition, he purchased Domaine de Mouton d’Armailhacq, which he renamed Château d’Armailhac in 1989. This portfolio had a small wine trading company called the Societe Vinicole de Pauillac, which he renamed Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA. The world’s top Bordeaux AOC-branded wine, Mouton Cadet, is still being produced today.
In another business venture, Baron Philippe saw potential in the Château Clerc Milon estate, and acquired it in 1970. Baron Philippe also decided to be open with the American market, so he partnered with Robert Mondavi in 1978. This collaboration produced Opus One, a premium French-Californian winery planting, aging, and blending according to the Bordeaux tradition.
You can also read his autobiography Vivre la Vigne, which proves his literary prowess. He also enjoyed sports and took part in several of competitions. He participated in the Le Mans 24-hour event and the Monaco Grand Prix with a Bugatti. Additionally, he was a sailor who took home the French regatta cup.
Baron Philippe passed away in 1988, and his only child, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, inherited the estate. She looked after it with her three children, Camille, Philippe, and Julien, continuing her father’s legacy until her death. Today, her three children work together to keep the dynasty going.