Lebanese wine

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Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world. The Phoenicians of its coastal strip were instrumental in spreading wine and viticulture throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. Despite the many conflicts of the region, the country has an annual production of about 600,000 cases of wine. Recently the sector has been witnessing an unprecedented growth.The number of wineries went from 5 in 1998 to over 30 nowadays.

History



Vitis vinifera evidence from ancient Rome shows wine was cultivated and then domesticated in Lebanon, at least two thousand years before Alexander the Great. While some people believe it arrived from the South Caucasus via Mesopotamia or the Black Sea trade routes there is no record to support such a claim. Vines grew readily in the land of Canaan, the coastal strip of today's Lebanon, and the wines of Byblos (Gubla, Gebal, Jubail, Jbeil) were exported to Egypt during the Old Kingdom (2686 BC–2134 BC). The wines of Tyre and Sidon were famous throughout the ancient Mediterranean, although not all the cargoes reached their destination; Robert Ballard of Titanic fame found the wrecks of two Phoenician ships from 750 BC, whose cargo of wine was still intact. As the first great traders of wine ('Cherem'), the Phoenicians seem to have protected it from oxidation with a layer of olive oil, followed by a seal of pinewood and resin - this may well be the origin of the Greek taste for retsina. The...
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