One of the oldest wine producing countries in the world although now most of the wine made is exported (Château Musar exports 95% of its production).
Most of the wine is grown in the Bekaa Valley whose microclimate, provided by the sheltering mountains either side, permits the vines to ripen in early September. Some vineyards can, however, be found in the Lebanese mountains.
Demand for wine inevitably decreased during the Beirut war. Despite this Serge Hochar of Château Musar continued to produce wine, sometimes defying the most adverse conditions (such as having to pull shrapnel out of the grapes prior to vinification in one vintage!). Only one vintage of Musar was missed, 1984, because of the war, and even though Serge’s vineyards and winery are separated by a range of mountains winemaking continued, sometimes with the winery’s cellars being used as air raid shelters! Other important Lebanese producers are Kefraya and Ksara.
The grapes grown for wine in the Lebanon are very much influenced by French winemaking. They include Cinsaut, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Semillon and Chardonnay.