Domaine Wardy... For the first time on the Yellow Road, winemakers from Lebanon

Girls in the vineyard of WARDY Winery

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbeck

For the first time on the Yellow Road, winemakers from Lebanon, Bekaa Valley.

Lebanon, in ancient times Phenicia, is considered the most likely homeland of wine. In the ancient world, it was the Phoenician wine, long before the glory of phalern, Cypriot and Chios wines, that was considered the best and most desirable product for the Egyptian, Greek, and then Roman nobility.

Zahlé is the capital and the largest city of Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. With around 120,000 inhabitants, it is the third largest city in Lebanon after Beirut and Tripoli.

Zahlé is located 55 km east of the capital Beirut, close to the Beirut-Damascus road, and lies at the junction of the Lebanon mountains and the Beqaa plateau, at a mean elevation of 1,000 m. Zahlé is known as the "Bride of the Beqaa" and "the Neighbor of the Gorge" for its geographical location and attractiveness, but also as "the City of Wine and Poetry"It is famous throughout Lebanon and the region for its pleasant climate, numerous riverside restaurants and quality arak. Its inhabitants are predominantly Greek Catholic and are known as Zahlawis.

Zahlé - "the City of Wine and Poetry"

Yellow Road Questions answered by Khalil WARDY, General Manager

1 - The western Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, stretching between the mountain ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, has been home to the vine for 6000 years ... Probably these were the oldest vineyards in the world?

Your vineyards are in the Beqaa Valley. Is the Beqaa Valley located at an altitude of 900 - 1000 meters above sea level? What is the beauty of wine made from grapes grown at such a height?

Geologically speaking the Beqaa Valley is a continuation of the fault that separated Africa from Asia… Red Sea – Dead Sea – Jordan Valley – Beqaa Valley.

It’s a high altitude plateau of 900-1200 meters above sea level separating the two mountain ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon that act as boundaries protecting the valley from the Mediterranean humidity to the west and desert heat to the east.

It receives enough rain in winter to nourish the many springs and subterranean water supply that is used for irrigation during the dry summer months.

The valley was the main source of grains to the Eastern Roman empire. It also produced grapes and opium. All three produce are carved on the entrance of the great temple of Bacchus, the god of wine, at Baalbeck; and all remain after more than 2000 years the main three produce of the Beqaa Valley… 2 legally and the 3rd illegally.

The entrance of the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbeck

The Beqaa Governorate constitutes the valley floor as well as the slopes of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges, which rise to an altitude of 2800m above sea level.

The Mediterranean climate, rainy and snowy in winter but completely dry in summer, with a large diurnal range is perfect for growing grapes. During the growing season temperatures can reach the mid 30s during the day thus achieving full ripening of the fruits, and drop down to the teens during the night thus retaining some acidity and freshness.

Our vineyards are mainly located in the central Beqaa around the city of Zahle, although we do have some in the Western Beqaa to the south and the Northern Beqaa next to the ancient city of Baalbeck. We have plans to plant new vineyards in 2020-2022 at high altitudes (1400m and above) on the eastern and western slopes. Once all these vineyards are planted we will have 35 hectares of vines.

The newly planted Sauvignon Blanc

2 - You are the fourth generation winemakers, but your winery is only 21 years old. Was your vineyard elsewhere? And why did you come to the Beqaa Valley?

We can trace our history in wine and arak making back to our great grandfather (from my mothers’ side of the family) who started a winery and distillery in Zahle in 1881. Both our parents’ families were involved in agriculture, arak, wine and food.

Khalil's grandfather at his winery in Aleppo, Syria

Our grandfather moved to Aleppo in Syria and started a winery/distillery over there while my father emigrated to Australia and opened a restaurant in Sydney. On his return he became a partner in Lebanon leading arak company “Gantous & Abou Raad” (established in 1893); we started producing wine in 1997 after we bought the full shares of the “Gantous & Abou Raad” company.

During a wine tasting visit

3- Dear Khalil, have you dreamed of becoming a winemaker from a young age? Or your choice was formed in more mature years?

Our winemaker is Diana Salameh Khalil who studied and worked in Burgundy before joining

our team in 2002.

4 - I want to acquaint readers of the Yellow Road with your achievements. Could you comment on several awards whose logos are posted on your site


New Awards at the Wardy winery

Over the years our wines and araks have won around 200 medals and awards in international competitions, we are particularly proud of the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) Trophy we won this year for our Indigenous grape white wine Obeidi.

A selection of our single-variety wines

5 - Please tell about your program: Domaine Wardy Club

The Domaine Wardy Club is designed for people who wish to buy online from our website and commit to three orders per year, they become our club members and will get their wines delivered to their address in Lebanon, they will also be entitled to discounts and have priority access to museum stock and special events.

6 - I have a standard question: List, if possible, a set (gift box) of three or four of your own wines (red and white), which, in your opinion, can decorate the "poster" of your farm.

But you have an interesting set of DW - 6Pack Club ... And what kind of wine is this in a tall yellow bottle?

Since 2019, you have changed labels on wines. For example, I really liked your “old” label on Beqaa Valley Red. Will the “old” labels remain on any bottles?

In 2018 we decided that the brand needs a major facelift and started working with the designer Tarek Atrissi who created a new logo for the brand as well as new labels for the wines (work still in progress).

We produce 4 sets of wines: Single-varieties, unoaked blends, oaked blends, limited editions.

The Single-varieties: eventually will be a set of 9 wines: 4 whites – Chardonnay, Obeidi, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier; 5 reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo.

The labels for this set are intended to give as much information about each variety as possible.

The design, Middle-eastern mosaics indicating the origin of the wine – Lebanon.

The colors of each are related to the aromatic and flavor profile for each variety.

The wood texture, or lack of it, indicates whether the wine has been oaked or not.

Traditional Lebanese mosaics

The Sauvignon Blanc design image

The first seven of the single variety set

The unoaked blends: a set of 3 wines – white, red and rosé.

The labels are color-coded, inspired by vine tendrils and spell “Wardy” in Arabic.

The un-oaked blends

The oaked blends: Chateau les Cedres (red) and Perle du Chateau (white), yet to be re-designed.

The oaked blends

The limited editions: Private Selection Red, an unfiltered blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; Private Selection White (still in the old label), a wonderfully aromatic blend of Muscat and Viognier.

The limited editions

All the bottles will be unified by an artisanal rose (Wardy means rose in Arabic) in honor of our great-great-grand mother who was the matriarch of the family and whose first name was Wardy.

7 - Your vineyard is located next to Zahle City. Can it be reached on foot? Are there any restrictions on travellers in Lebanon these days?

Our winery and some of the vineyards are in and around the city of Zahle, the capital of the Beqaa. They are easily accessible, and we welcome visitors for wine tasting at our cellar in winter and at our vineyards in summer. The summer venue is a Bedouin tent that we erect in the vineyards next to our Arabian-horse stables (Wardy Stud).

Wardy Stud Arabian horses

8 - What is your choice for the Yellow Road?

For the Yellow Road, I will definitely choose our award-winning Obeidi in its two incarnations: as an oaked single-variety, and as part of our Beqaa Valley White unoaked blend (Obeidi-Viognier-Sauvignon Blanc).

9 - Which white wine producer (from Lebanon or another country) would you recommend for Yellow Road?

I’m very fond of an Australian Marsanne by Tahbilk winery, especially the “1927 vines Marsanne”.

10 - Do you have time for any cultural events?

Several years ago we commissioned artists to paint on our Jeroboam bottles that were auctioned at an impressive event, proceeds of which went for the Lebanese Red Cross and Syrian refugees, an event that we would like to repeat again.

The 2019 harvest

The Obeidi vineyards

I thank Rima Wardy, Managing Partner,

for helping prepare this publication.

Sergey Evtuhov, author of the project "Yellow Road".
Ключевые слова: Sergey Evtuhov, Domaine Wardy, Khalil WARDY, Rima Wardy
топик прочитан 1320 раз
добавлен 23 ноября 2019, 12:06


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