Will 2011 hearld new dawn for Lebanese wine?

Lebanon’s wine makers are busy harvesting and the hope is that this vintage will not only be sublime in terms of wine but will also herald a new dawn for Lebanese wines on the international markets. At home things are also beginning to move. This summer in Lebanon I have felt a palpable shift in attitudes to the nation’s wines. It maybe early to sound the death knell on the Lebanese obsession with all things foreign (wines have not escaped this) but there is definitely greater interest in our homegrown producers. “Have you tried this?” or “you should try that?” or “what do you think of so and so?” and “I hear x is opening a winery in this location” . The enthusiasm is undeniable.

Maybe now is the time for us to consider a national marketing campaign similar to the successful one run by Coco PR in the UK since 2010. In the meantime, here is my latest industry snapshot.

Lebanese wine at a glance


No of producers 1991: Four

No of producers 2004: 12

No of producers 2011: approx 40

Biggest Producer: Château Ksara (approx 2.4 million bottles)

Top producers by Volume: Château Ksara, Château Kefraya, Château Musar, Château St Thomas, Domaine Wardy, Massaya,

Oldest producers: Château Ksara (1857), Domaines des Tourelles (1868), Nakad Winery (1926), Château Musar (1930)

National production: approx 7 million bottles

Making wine since: 5000 BC

Category: Ancient World/New Old World

Exports: approx 40%

Per capita local consumption: 1.5 litres

Main region of production: Bekaa (90%)

Other regions: North Lebanon, Jbeil, Mount Lebanon, Chouf, South Lebanon

Area under vine for wine and arak production: approx 3,000 ha

Indigenous red grapes: None perfected at the moment

Indigenous white grapes: Merweh, Obeideh

Most popular non-indigenous red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache

Most popular non-indigenous white grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semilion, Clairette, Viognier

Red grapes most used in the production of rosé: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsault


Sales and consumption

Per capita local consumption: approximately 1 bottle per capita (4 million bottles)
Local wines 3,280,000 bottles, around 80%
Imported wines: 720,000 bottles, around 20%
Lebanon exports approximately 40% of production
2010: $10,885,000 or 2,215,000 bottles with an average price of $6.6
2011: Growth of 33% during the first 6 months of 2011.

Largest markets in 2010 were:
United Kingdom: $2,558,000 (23% of exports)
France: $1,761,00 (16% of exports)
United States: $1,228,000 (11% of exports)
Canada: $1,228,000 (11% of exports)
United Arab Emirates: $883,000 (8% of exports)

International buyers include a large diaspora (There are 4 million Lebanese in the country but about 12 million first, second and third generation Lebanese living abroad)

Main producers

Adyar (est. 2003; 45,000 bottles)

Aurora (est. 2005; 4,000 bottles)

Batroun Mountains (est. 2003; 50,000 bottles)

Cave Kouroum (est. 1998; 500,000 bottles)

Chateau Belle Vue (est. 2000; 18,000 bottles)

Chateau Faqra (est. 1985; 150,000 bottles)

Chateau Ka (est. 1974; 125,000 bottles)

Chateau Kefraya (est. 1978; 2.2 million bottles)

Chateau Khoury (est. 2004; 50,000 bottles)

Chateau Ksara (est. 1857; 2.5 million bottles)

Chateau Marsyas (est. 2005; 50,000 bottles)

Chateau Musar (est. 1930; 700,000 bottles)

Chateau Saint Thomas (est. 1997; 600,000 bottles)

Clos de Cana (est. 2000; 350,000 bottles)

Coteaux de Botrys (est. 1998; 40,000 bottles)

Coteaus du Liban (est. 2000; 60,000 bottles)

Domaine de Baal (est. 2006; 12,000 bottles)-
Domaine des Cedres (est. 2000; 30,000 bottles)

Domaine Najm (est. 1994; 4,500 bottles)

Domaine Skaff (est. 2009; 10,000 bottles)

Domaine des Tourelles (est. 1868; 100,000 bottles)

Domaine Wardy (est. 1996; 650,000 bottles)

Heritage (est. 1995; 500,000 bottles)

Ixsir (est. 2008; 300,000 bottles)

Karam Winery (est. 2003; 55,000 bottles)

Massaya (est. 1998; 300,000 bottles)

Nabise Mont Liban (est. 2001; 18,000 bottles)

Nakad Winery (est. 1923; 200,000 bottles)

Tazka (est. 2007; 30,000 bottles)


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