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Wines of Lebanon

Home Wines of Lebanon Chateau Ksara

Wine in Lebanon has a history that reaches back thousands of years. Over 4000 years ago, the Phoenicians sold Lebanese wine throughout the Mediterranean region, and they were credited with having introduced the flavorful nectar into the Spanish and Italian markets. Barrels of wine were shipped out from the thriving ports of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos to many destinations, including Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs.
The superior quality of Lebanese wines – then and now – is due to the fertile soil of the Bekaa Valley. The valley’s exceptional climate and the richness of its earth provide an ideal breeding ground for various types of grapes.
The grapes grown during the Phoenician era – such as Marami and Baytamouni – no longer exist. They have been replaced by French varieties such as Syrah, Chardonnay, and Cabernet-Sauvignon, which are universal and used around the world for grape cultivation.
In the last 10 years, the amount of wine produced in Lebanon has more than doubled, and Lebanese wine is becoming famous far beyond the Mediterranean basin. The oldest winery in Lebanon that’s still in operation today is Château Ksara.
Château Ksara estate lies in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, close to ancient Baalbeck and lively Zahle. The name comes from ksar (or fortress) because the current winery was the site of a fortress during the Crusader era. The property was acquired by Jesuit fathers in 1857, when it already was a famous vineyard, and the Jesuits kept up the noble winemaking tradition. The Jesuits introduced new varieties of high-quality vines into Lebanon that thrived thanks the Bekaa’s ideal climate
The natural caves that lie directly under Château Ksara estate serve as the place’s wine cellar. The temperature inside the caves – between 11 and 13 degrees centigrade – is ideal for storing wine. The caves were originally discovered by the Romans, who dug several tunnels outward from the caves. These tunnels were later enlarged during World War I, when the Jesuit fathers employed 100 men to dig out the caves and complete an underground network of tunnels stretching for almost 2 kilometers. The Jesuit fathers sold Château Ksara to its present owners in conformity with the directives of the Vatican II synod.

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