GREEN POLICIES ARE GOOD FOR FOOD, WINE – AND THE ENVIRONMENT

For wineries the new year starts somewhere around November, once all the grapes have finished their fermentation. Then we start thinking about the next cycle in the vineyards, the new vines to plant and our priorities for the coming year. Wineries reflect a way of thinking and living, at least for Massaya

For years now we have been treating our waste water, we have made our compost, recycled waste, encouraged our team to reduce their carbon footprints, given preference to local producers, chosen ingredients and material that were as natural as possible, planted our kitchen garden, planted bamboos to recycle water, prioritized organic treatments of vineyards, reduced to minimum the use of sulfur, oxygenated water for use in irrigation, and followed the moon calendar to filtrate and bottle our wines.

We have never boasted about these activities, because they all happened for us naturally and without forcing ourselves. We are convinced that our environmentally friendly policies are reflected in our wines, arak and food quality and this is really what counts in order to develop a sustainable Massaya.

In 2001 we gave our staff textile bags and adopted a policy of “no plastic bags”. Any staff member carrying a plastic bag had to contribute 1000LEP for the social action fund. So our caretakers are in charge of security but also police our team members to limit the number of plastic bags. Of course in 2001 that was pioneering thinking. Next year, all the cars will be equipped with baskets, hampers and recycled bags. So our action is shifting from a coercive measure to a preventative program to limit pollution and increase awareness.

Our wines carry no certification logo but they wear the badge of our principles. As our daily actions contribute to the goodness across our vineyards, we welcome visitors to Tanaïl (alt 139 for ï) where the compost area is open for inspection and at Faqra where the winery recycles restaurant waste.

Our decision not to use harmful spraying in agriculture is not just to comply with an un-existing regulation but is a sincere commitment to quality. We want our vines to live in an environment where worms, bugs and birds cohabit and neutralize each other’s harmful impact rather than eliminating them with pesticides – and then having to compensate for their positive activities with additional spraying and more fertilizers.

 

 

This approach to farming has been integrated throughout Massaya because such actions come from deep convictions and global thinking. For example it is much easier and safer to use dry yeast imported from a renowned French laboratory. But at Massaya we take the more delicate and riskier path of generating yeast each year from Lebanon’s nature, a process that takes around one week of daily pampering. Our belief is that the wines are then more complex, more sincere and more elegant without reliance on more refined yeast produced in a laboratory. By doing this, we are not just ensuring the subtleties and elegance of Lebanon’s nature, we are also reducing the carbon footprint of Massaya. Indeed by using local we save the energy of logistics and transportation.

Our restaurants at Faqra are driven by the same philosophy, from farm to table. We don’t pretend that everything is grown in-house but our objective is to reach this target. We are developing our plantations of potatoes, almonds, basil, thyme and even saffron. That is the reason we always prefer local meat and vegetables.

We know that nowadays guests are used to a more tender and standardized imported meat and expect to enjoy parsley in January. But at Massaya our restaurants try to respect the seasonality of the ingredients; for instance we replace in winter the tabbouleh quinoa summer salad with the kale salad. The reason is to introduce new items but also mainly because parsley grows in summer and tastes much better when grown open to the sun instead of in greenhouses. It’s the same with kale; to be tender it requires lots of water that is abundant in winter.

 

This winter we are more confident in our team’s capabilities in the kitchen so we will rely more on specials in the menu based on the seasonality of vegetables, beans and fruits….

Our philosophy goes further than small gestures. Even if we are out of stock of Massaya Blanc we will respect a sustainable calendar rather than favoring turnover. We could release the Blanc 2018 next month but we will then not respect the environment or the produce. Winter’s cold helps the wine to settle naturally at the bottom of the vats so that we don’t need powerful treatments through fining agents, strict filtration or physical actions such as reverse osmosis.

That’s why our wines are less manipulated, more balanced, more easy going…. and by the way, more environment friendly!

Learn more on www.massaya.com
 
Copyright 2015, Massaya
www. massaya.com