Wines | Massaya

As we approach the end of another eventful year we are pleased that Massaya has proved it can adapt and flourish when changes are happening all around us.


Take climate change; it is one of the biggest challenges facing wine producers everywhere. For instance, extreme weather hit hard in California this summer when raging fires destroyed some vineyards and in Europe the weather’s uncertainty is having an unprecedented toll on wine production.

As far as Lebanon is concerned, with our usual determination and resourcefulness, the country is adapting quickly to a new meteorology with the development of vineyards in more suitable regions. Wine production in 2017 was mostly in line with previous years and undoubtedly larger than 2015 and even 2016.

What marked the scene at the end of 2017 in Lebanon was less the environmental conditions affecting wine production and quality but more the volatile geopolitical conditions.


Throughout 2017 we kept pointing out that Lebanon was the most stable country of the near east. We wanted to reassure potential visitors that this resourceful country had a newly appointed government with a firm grip on security matters and was tackling social issues while neighbouring countries were plagued with bursts of violence.

Then in November we had the distraction of our prime minister’s pseudo resignation in Saudi Arabia and the diplomatic drama that followed. Suddenly everyone in the wine business was caught up in endless discussions about politics as they tried to interpret what was going on. There was a general feeling of outrage that a powerful country was interfering in our affairs.


What a pain this was for those of us who spend the year working the land and preparing for the harvest to show the world that the talent of Lebanon’s winemakers is as abundant today as it has been for many years.

At Massaya we are modern, forward-looking vintners that represent the country through its wines, arak, food and hospitality. You could say that our mission is carved in stone – and in a symbolic sense it really is.

One of the lesser known of Lebanon’s riches is the diversity of fossils that have been found here and that are helping to provide a fuller picture of the evolution of life on our planet.

The first reference to this resource was by Sire de Joinville, companion of Louis IX during the crusade of 1248 and 1254. In his book published in 1270 he refers to the king ‘s journey in Saida and the stone shaped after a sea fish.

More recently, the discoveries included a snake with two legs - a creature half way from lizard to snake - and rare octopus fossils discovered in limestone as recently as 2009 and dated at 95 million years old.


Of course we’ve not been around that long – but at Massaya Faqra during the construction of the white wine winery between 2008 and 2014 we unearthed more than one thousand fossils that we are patiently cataloguing. Most of them are cretaceous dated at 100 million years from clay and marl of the secondary era. We are preparing an exhibition of the most interesting specimens at Faqra in the coming year.

While the Louvre in Abu Dhabi is inaugurated, the fossils remind us that each village in Lebanon has ruins, scenery, mineral wealth, fossils. It’s this heritage that makes each corner of Lebanon a sort of open sky and free minded museum while the fossils epitomize our strongly rooted determination to continue the Happy Moments and legendary hospitality of Lebanon – regardless of the geopolitical environment.

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