Tour The Breathtaking Vineyards Of Lebanon
Lebanon has one of the oldest wine cultures in the world, dating back 5,000 years when the Phoenicians first began tending vineyards. They exported their wine to ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and Carthage; introducing the world to viticulture and enology.
Wine making in Lebanon has suffered from war and conquest over the millennia, but in recent centuries it survived through monastic orders. In 1857, the Jesuits of Zahle began expanding it in earnest, buying 240 hectares of land in Tanayel where they founded a convent and planted vines. Despite French protection during the mandate, followed by Lebanon’s independence, this revival remained fairly limited. In the last few decades, though, Lebanese wine has reemerged in earnest, and while you can still find traditional sweet monastic wines, most wineries today are planting classic noble grapes and giving local twists to international styles.
It’s difficult to say exactly how many wineries there are in Lebanon, but even the most conservative estimate would put the number at over 50, producing approximately 9 million bottles a year. Most vineyards are concentrated in the Bekaa Valley and Mount Lebanon, but you can find them in Batroun, in the south, and elsewhere. Nearly all of the wineries listed here are willing to provide tours and tastings with advanced booking, and the major wineries frequently feature large complexes for tours and tastings with restaurants, terraces and even wine appreciation courses.
While calcareous soil represents only 5% of the soil of the planet, Lebanon is made up of 80% of such favorable soil. Lebanon also enjoys a majority of sunny days across the seasons, and the Bekaa and Mount Lebanon in particular have warm days and cool nights. With high concentrations of lime and red clay, and often with gravely mixes in the terraced vineyards of the mountains, the country is perfectly suited for producing excellent wine grapes.