Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Vines on the Frontline

Today's Radio 4 Programme by Jeremy Bowen, called Vines on the Frontline, gave a fascinating insight into the world of winemaking in Lebanon, a country that is often better known for conflict. 

Avaialble on the BBC iPlayer for 7 days from today.

The programme information from the BBC website says:
" The message from a glass of Lebanese wine should be tolerance and openness between civilizations. It's more than fermented grape juice." Ramzi Ghosn, Massaya Wines.

For Radio 4, the BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, takes time out from reporting conflicts to give vinophiles a new perspective on an ancient story. Lebanon is not a place you naturally associate with winemaking.

It is a Middle Eastern country nestled between Arab neighbours whose religion forbids them to drink alcohol. It is also a country that has been scarred by war, from the 15-year civil war from 1975-1990, to the recent Israeli-Lebanon conflict in 2006.

But Lebanon is also an ancient civilisation, a country of merchants and traders - its history dating back to Noah, the first winemaker in the Bible. Fittingly the Temple of Bacchus, an impressive tribute to the God of wine, is situated amongst the ruins of Balbek, in the Bekaa Valley, a region these days better known for Hezbollah than hedonism. But the temple, like Lebanese wine, has survived centuries of war and the winemakers of the Bekka are optimistic wine will outlive war.

Sharing stories with the wine makers who, in defiance and dedication to their craft, continue to grow their vines so close to the frontline, Jeremy delves into the cultural and ethnic mosaic of this unstable but extraordinary country.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lebanese wine makes the headlines

We were so excited to see such great press about Lebanese wines in the weekend papers.  Victoria Moore in the Daily Telegraph called Lebanese wines "Edgy, Exciting and Drinkable" -

And Fiona Beckett wrote about her discovery that there was more to Lebanese wine than her 'first love' Chateau Musar in The Guardian

Wines of Lebanon was definitely a hot topic on Twitter over the weekend as people retweeted these articles and chatted about their experiences of Lebanon.

Finally, Jeremy Bowen's excellent radio programme Vines on the Frontline will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Wednesday 12th January at 11.00am. 

So, all in all, very positive as Lebanese wines finally get the recognition they deserve!