Chateau ksara, the country’s oldest winery, began
life in 1857 when Jesuit FATHERS inherited and began
farming a 25 hectare plot of land to produce Lebanon’s
first non-sweet red wine. In doing so they laid
the foundations of Lebanon’s modern wine industry.
It is worth remembering however that Lebanon’s oldest
winery is merely continuing a 5,000-year-old trading
tradition. Lebanon sits on the site of ancient Phoenicia,
one of the world’s oldest merchant civilizations
and one of the first to sell its wines to other
the Vatican encouraged its monasteries and missions
around the world to sell off any commercial activities.
By then, Ksara was a profitable entity, producing
over 1 million bottles annually and representing
85% of Lebanese production. When then order to sell
came through, the winery was optioned to a consortium
of Lebanese businessmen and in August, 1973.
accidental discovery of a grotto, stretching over
2 kilometers, gave the religious men a perfect storing
area, which was not too humid and at ideal temperature
. It is dug in a limestone rock and it is believed
that the grotto dates back to the roman period but
its use by the ancient civilization is still unknown.
comprising 6 tunnels which cover 2 km under ksara
, were discovered in 1898 and represent perfect
conditions for storing wines, as temperatures remains
between 13 and 15 C all year round.
tourists per year wind down into the dark, dank
grotto peering at ancient tools and bottles entombed
in dust and mildew. The cellars contain approximately
900000 bottles ranging from last year’s vintage
to a few final examples of the 1918 vintage.
Ksara was the first Lebanese winery to introduce
“modern” grape varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah,
Merlot, Chardonnay et al – into Lebanon in the early
90s, eschewing the sector’s traditional reliance
on less fashionable grapes such as Cinsault and
Carignan. Today, its vineyards are home to some
20 varieties of grapes for the production of red,
white, rosé wines, vin doux (sweet wine)
the top are the premium reds: Château Ksara,
made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot;
the single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cuvée
de Troisième Millénaire, Cinsault,
Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon flagship red and a
blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdot. For its 150th
anniversary in 2007, Château Ksara has created
Le Souverin, a limited edition blend of Cabernet
Sauvignon and Arinarnoa aged in oak for two years,
to celebrate the occasion.
Today, Chateau Ksara’s reputation as Lebanon’s biggest
and oldest winery is secure. To produce its 2 million
bottles, the winery harvests 2,000 tons of grapes
from its 300 hectares at an average yield of 7 tons
of grapes per hectare. This is nearly half the yield
of some new world producers who, foregoing quality,
happily harvest as much as 14 tons per hectare.
For Château Ksara, quality is paramount.
name of Château Ksara dates back to 1857,
and has become associated with the three core values:
tradition, nobility and modernity. These are emphasized
through name and lineage (tradition); through a
high-quality product (nobility) and the tremendous
innovative advances made since 1991 (modernity).