Lebanon is one of the oldest sites for 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 in the region, the country has an annual production of about 600,000 cases of wine. Recently the wines of Lebanon have seen a huge surge in popularity and the number of wineries went from 5 in 1998 to over 30 nowadays.
Winemaking was revivied in 1857, when Jesuits planted Cinsault vines from Algeria at Chateau Ksara near Zahlé in the Beqaa Valley. In 1868 a French Engineer, Eugène François Brun, established Domaine des Tourelles and others followed, notably Gaston Hochar’s Chateau Musar in 1930.
The French influence between the two World Wars promoted a culture of wine drinking, as did the sophisticated Mediterranean culture of Beirut at the time.