Guest of Honour 2016: Lebanon

Lebanon: the first ’exotic‘ guest of honour of Megavino

The Union Vinicole du Liban is proud to be part of MEGAVINO 2016. Lebanon’s hospitality sector has always been crucial, not only to the local economy, but also in exporting Lebanon’s image around the region, and the Union Vinicole du Liban is committed to be part of this drive.

Along with Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Cyprus, Lebanon is part of an Eastern Mediterranean region that is capturing the imagination of global consumers who are looking for the taste of something different. Our heritage, cuisine and inherent joie de vivre make wines from our part of the world an obvious choice. Shows like MEGAVINO are key to helping us sending this message.

UVL has made huge steps in selling the idea of Lebanon as a genuine winemaking country and in the last five years, especially in Europe, the US, Canada and Dubai we have shown that we can compete with the very best wine making countries in the world.

Lebanon is now established on the international wine circuit and recently we have invited the most influential wine writers and critics. Not only have they taken away our proud message of wine but they have also experienced our hospitality and tasted our famous cuisine. This proves that the ties with our wine industry are not only as strong as ever but are important in selling the bigger picture of Lebanon to a global audience.

The public sector and the various commercial bodies, such as the chamber of commerce, have noticed this impact and I am happy to announce that we can now rely on funding for future marketing initiatives, the “trickle-down” effect from which will again benefit the entire hospitality sector.

Our quality is what defines us. Our wine regions have demonstrated for thousands of years that they are perfect for viticulture and in the Bekaa valley we have one of the most famous wine growing areas in the world, one that attracts the tourists and wine professionals from all corners of the planet.

We also should not be ashamed of being a small wine producing country. On the contrary, in a global market that is swamped with wines from countries that make billions of bottles, our modest 9 million-bottle production sets us apart. It is a microscopic amount in global terms.  This is why we have to be different.  This is why we believe that “small is beautiful”.  We have a small output but we believe that small is beautiful!

This is why we want to position ourselves as the ultimate boutique wine-producing nation and that every bottle of wine we make and sell sends out a message that captures Lebanon’s warmth and generosity of spirit.

Our scarcity is our strength and can charge a premium for this. To do this and to maintain a boutique image, we have responsibilities. We must ensure that we are scrupulous in all our commercial endeavors. Our wines, our packaging and the integrity with which they are made, are beyond reproach.

Our priority therefore is to not only be an ambassador for Lebanon but also a standard bearer of quality, professionalism and best practice in our industry both at home and abroad.

Adyar

Rita Khoury-Sfeir
+ 961 (0)3 586 244
marketing@adyar.org.lb
www.adyar.org.lb

Atibaia

Jennifer Massoud
+ 961 (0)3 363 941
jennifermassoud@gmail.com
www.atibaiawine.com

Château Aurora

Andrea Geara
+ 961 71 632 620
info@aurorawinery.co
www.aurorawinery.co

Château Heritage

Wissam Touma
+ 961 (0)3 777 503
info@chateauheritage.com
www.chateauheritage.com

Château Ka

Ghida Kassatly Boulos
+ 961 (0)1 899 888
ghida@kassatly.net
www.chateauka.com

Château Kefraya

Edouard Kosremelli & Emile Majdalani
+ 961 (0)1 485 207/8
ekosremelli@chateaukefraya.com
business@chateaukefraya.com
www.chateaukefraya.com

Château Ksara

Elie Maamari
+ 961 (0)1 200 715
emaamari@ksara.com.lb
www.chateauksara.com

Château Musar

Gaston Hochar
+ 961 (0)1 328 200/11
info@chateaumusar.com.lb
www.chateaumusar.com

Château Nakad

Lara Nakad
+961 (0)3 982 654
info@chateaunakad.com
www.chateaunakad.com

Château Oumsiyat

Cynthia Kharrat Bou Sleiman
+ 961 (0)4 295 621
oumsiyat@gmail.com
www.chateauoumsiyat.com

Château Qanafar

Georges Naim & Eddy Naim
+ 961 (0)1 504 503
george@chateauqanafar.com
www.chateauqanafar.com

Château Sanctus

Fadi Aouad
+ 961 (0)3 662 423
faouad@aol.com
www.chateausanctuslebanon.com

Château St-Thomas

Micheline Touma & Nathalie Touma
+ 961 (0)8 500 812/3
info@clossthomas.com
closstthomas@gmail.com
www.closstthomas.com

Clos de Cana

Fadi Gerges
+961 (0)3 334 353
fadigerges59@gmail.com
www.closdecana.com

Clos du Phoenix

Maya Anid
+961 (0)3 271 672
closduphoenix@gmail.com
www.closduphoenix.com

Coteaux du Liban

Roula Abou Khater
+961 71 350 247
info@coteauxduliban.com
www.libancave.com

Domaine de Baal

Sebastien Khoury
+961 (0)3 697 365
sebastien@domainedebaal.com
www.domainedebaal.com

Domaine des Tourelles

Faouzi Issa & Christiane Issa-Nahas
+ 968 (0)1 540 114
info@domainedestourelles.com
www.domainedestourelles.com

Domaine Wardy

Aziz Wardy
+ 961 (0)8 930 141/2
info@domainewardy.com
www.domainewardy.com

Ixsir Hady Kahale

Etienne Touzot
+ 961 (0)9 210 023
etouzot@ixsir.com.lb
www.ixsir.com.lb

Karam Wines

Habib Karam
+ 961 (0)3 373 703
+ 961 (0)3 402 538
contact@karamwines.com
www.karamwines.com

Some history

Lebanon is one of the earliest sites of wine production. As far back as 7000 BC early Lebanese cultures promoted the vine and wine but it was the Phoenicians, a Semitic people and the forebears of the modern Lebanese trader, who were arguably the world’s first wine merchants bottling and shipping their treasure from their power bases in Byblos, Sidon and Tyre as early as 3000BC.

Two thousand years later, at the height of their power, between 900-and 330 BC, their remarkable trading fleet ruled the Mediterranean. In Egypt, it was not uncommon for ‘Lebanese’ wines, especially the famed Bybline, to be among the list of items that wealthy Egyptians, including the pharaohs, would insist on taking with them to the next life. They also reached the tables of Carthage, Cyprus, Greece, Rome, Sardinia, Spain and perhaps even France.

Lebanon’s wine heritage is also famously represented in historic Baalbek, the ancient Roman city at the Eastern end of the Bekaa Valley – Lebanon’s vinicultural heartland – where the impressive Temple of Bacchus, the Roman god of wines, still stands.

How fitting that Lebanon’s vines should still grow in soil where, nearly 2000 years ago, Bacchus was idolized by local fertility cults whose worship revolved around the idea of resurrection expressed through the agricultural cycle of sowing, growing, harvesting and feasting. His magnificent legacy in Baalbek demonstrates the dramatic role Lebanon can claim to have played in the history of wine culture.

Lebanon’s reputation for producing fine wines continued into the Middle Ages, when vintages from Tyre and Sidon were traded by the merchants of Venice.

In 1517, what is now Lebanon was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Despite living under Islamic rule, Lebanon’s Christians, mainly Maronites and Greek and Armenian Orthodox, continued to produce wine sought after by the many European travellers in the region.

Lebanon is one of the earliest sites of wine production. As far back as 7000 BC early Lebanese cultures promoted the vine and wine but it was the Phoenicians, a Semitic people and the forebears of the modern Lebanese trader, who were arguably the world’s first wine merchants bottling and shipping their treasure from their power bases in Byblos, Sidon and Tyre as early as 3000BC.

Almost 350 years later, in 1857, Jesuit missionaries in the Bekaa Valley introduced new viticultural and vinicultural methods as well as new vines from French-governed Algeria. In doing so, they laid the foundations of the modern Lebanese wine industry.

The French civil and military administration that governed Lebanon between the first and second world wars created unprecedented demand for wine. Lebanon was by now a cosmopolitan and financial regional hub, a golden age that offered further opportunities for new wine culture to take hold.

In 1990, a new era dawned as a new generation of producers exploited the potential of the Bekaa Valley’s formidable terroir making wines for a global market. It was a period that also saw the creation of the Union Vinicole du Liban or UVL, an association that today represents nearly 95% of Lebanon’s wineries.

The northern region of Batroun has become Lebanon’s second wine growing region.
Other pioneering areas include Mount Lebanon and the South.
There are nearly 40 wineries of varying size at work in Lebanon today, producing over 9 million bottles. Wine is Lebanon’s most high profile and exciting export. And so it should be. The tradition is there along with 3,200 hours of sunshine each year.

Wine professionals from all over the world have ranked them among the very best and our indigenous grapes including the ancient Merwah and Obeideh, are generating international attention.

The sector is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth and global interest. This momentum should continue. The future is looking bright for the UVL and Lebanese wines.