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Elie Maamari of Chateau Ksara on Lebanon

This show was published 13 February 2009


Elie Maamari of Chateau Ksara in Lebanon talks to us about the history of Lebanese wine production and the Bekka Valley region.

Wine was first produced by the Venetians, 4000 years ago and continued during the Greek Roman era and then the Byzantine period, the Christians and Islams. But during the 500 years of the Ottoman empire wine was not allowed to be made. In 1857 the Jesuits acquired the estate of Ksara and started growing vines again.

The Bekka region accounts for almost 65% of wine production, with some in the north and a small amount in Mount Lebanon. Lebanon is located at latitudes 32-33 N and the vines are grown at altitude, at 1100-1400 metres high. The climate during the growing season is very dry and hot with a gentle daytime breeze. The winters are extremely cold with snow.
A small and mountainous country, there are only 21 wineries in Lebanon. The people are generally quite wealthy, making the land expensive and expansion of the vineyards less likely.


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