The Lebanese “Route des Vins”

Vines have been growing in Lebanon for more than 4000 years. Our Phoenician ancestors were among the first to understand the mystery of wine and export it across the Mediterranean. The discovery of a 2,600-year-old wine press that was recently shared by National Geographic is another evidence of the extensive overseas trade in wine by the Phoenicians.

Today, we have more than 40 wineries across the country. I’ve put together a list of 10 Lebanese wineries that are on a 50 kilometers route and that can be all visited on the same day. Enjoy “The Lebanese Route des Vins” and drink responsibly.

Chateau Ksara

Founded by the Jesuits in 1857, Château Ksara is one of the oldest and most known modern wine industries in Lebanon. It has a diverse range of 17 red, white and rosé wines.

Domaine Wardy

Domaine Wardy is a family owned winery and distillery located in Zahle with roots dating back to 1881.

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The Wardys are fourth generation of wine and arak makers — wines and spirits have been intertwined in our lives since 1881 when our great grandfather, Rachid Cortas, started a winery in Zahle. 
Arak Gantous Abou Raad was established in Zahle in 1893 and for decades has been the best-selling arak in Lebanon. Each member of our family — the neighbouring Cortases and Wardys — grew to become accomplished wine and arak makers. It's in our blood. In the 1930s, Toufiq Wardy moved to the city of Aleppo in Syria to become a partner in a distillery. Habib Cortas followed, taking his wife and two young children for what was supposed to be a stay of a few months that ended up being a lifetime. They went on to establish Arak Cortas & Wardy in Aleppo and made wine and other spirits. Our father George Wardy emigrated to Australia in 1945, where he and his brothers opened a restaurant in Toowoomba, Queensland, then a cake shop in Sydney. Our mother Marleine Cortas was born in Aleppo. George returned to Zahle in 1959 and Toufiq arranged the marriage of his cousin George to Marleine, the daughter of his partner. In a sense, we are the products of that winery in Aleppo. In 1971, George and his older brother Aziz bought the Abou Raad share of Arak Gantous & Abou Raad, and created with the Gantous family Solifed S.A.R.L (Société Libanaise de Fermantation et Distillation). By 1996, the Wardys purchased the Gantous’s shares in the company and began producing wine under the Domaine Wardy brand as well as Arak Wardy and in 2017, Georges and Marleine's children bought the complete shares of Solifed and Gantous & Abou Raad. 
So the family business came full circle. Back to Zahle and to the humble origins of the winery our forebears opened so long ago. . . . . . . . DRINK RESPONSIBLY  #domainewardy #zahle #beqaa #beirut #lebanon #family #emigration #wine #origin #arak #spirits #aleppo #queensland #sydney #nsw #australia

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Domaine des Tourelles

Founded in 1868, Domaine des Tourelles is also one of the oldest Lebanese wineries. It’s a very charming winery located in Chtaura town of Central Bekaa.

Chateau Saint Thomas

Located in Kab Elias town in Central Bekaa, Chateau Saint Thomas is a family owned winery that produces a variety of local wines.

Chateau Kefraya

Château Kefraya is a well recognized Lebanese winery. The castle was built starting 1946 on an artificial hill used by the Romans centuries ago to observe their troop movements. The first wine production started in 1951.

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Mystic Morning 🌄

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Chateau Marsyas

Chateau Marsyas grow their vines in Kefraya town. They’re well known for the “B-QA” which is a high quality wine that’s made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre for the red and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for the white.

Cave Kouroum

Also located in Kefraya, Cave Kouroum is a very modern winery that started its production in 1998.

Terre Joie

Terre Joie is a small and charming winery that’s run and owned by the Saade family (which translates to “Joie” in French). The domain was started in Kherbet Qanafar in 2008 and the first vintage was produced in 2011.

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I'd quarantine here forever 🏠

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Chateau Qanafar

Château Qanafar is a family owned and run winery that’s located at 1200m altitude in the mountains of Kherbet Qanafar in West-Bekaa.

La Tourba

La Tourba is the perfect place to end up the wine journey. Enjoy the sunset with a lake view and the misty mountains in the background.

There are indeed lots of other amazing wineries to discover. The only criteria that I’ve used in this list is the geographical location, as I’ve made sure to pick the ones that are on the same route. Cheers. 🍷

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