Lebanon as a wine country

When you think of wine countries you probably think of France, South Africa, Chile, Australia, sure, but there are many countries that produce good wine but are less known for it. This also applies to the the Middle East; while Israeli wines are sold at HEMA, Lebanese wines still have to find their way in into Dutch stores.

When the French got their mandate over Lebanon in the 1920’ies they found that the Beqaa Valley is perfect for growing grapes. While they were not the first to produce wine there, they were able to scale its production. The oldest winery in Lebanon was actually founded by the Jesuit monks in 1857 and was only sold by the church in 1973. While Lebanon is native to three types of white grapes, the commonly known non-indigenous grapes are grown the most.

90% of the wines are still produced in the Beqaa, however more regions have become popular with wine makers such as the Mount Lebanon, South Lebanon and the area around Batroun, leading to a total of almost 50 wineries in the country, ranging from old and commercial estates to small family-owned wineries. The Lebanese whites, rosés and reds are definitely worth a try if you are looking for something new. For people in the Netherlands: Lebanese wines can be bought at anderewijn.nl.

Side note: the Lebanese wines are more expensive than some of the French wines here in Lebanon. Prices start around 8 USD for a Lebanese wine, which isn’t cheap. Up to date, I have not found a convincing explanation whey they are more expensive than some French ones. If you do know, let us know!

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