WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

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Mark Ryan
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WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

#1 Post by Mark Ryan » July 31st, 2020, 12:30 pm

I wanted to let you know about a new documentary that my partners and I are just finishing up on the winemakers of Lebanon. Credit Jay Selman on this board (Jay and I made all those videos for GrapeRadio back in the day) for introducing me to the wines of Chateau Musar, and to the book 'Wines of Lebanon' by Michael Karam.

It was a wine geek's dream come true that I was able to partner up with Michael Karam and a filmmaking friend Mark Johnston to record some of Serge Hochar's most poignant words captured for all on film. The film also has appearances by Jancis Robinson MW, the late Michael Broadbent MW, Paul Grieco (Terroir NYC), and will also profile many of the winemakers who made wine during the Lebanese Civil War and the 2006 Summer War.

The film will be released in the fall, however until then here's our trailer. Cheers, or in Lebanese Arabic they say kééskon!

Last edited by Mark Ryan on August 2nd, 2020, 2:23 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#2 Post by AD Northup » July 31st, 2020, 2:10 pm

Awesome Mark! Musar is a top 5 producer by holdings in my cellar. Will this be available on iTunes, etc when released in its full form?
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#3 Post by Siun o'Connell » July 31st, 2020, 2:57 pm

Looks fascinating!

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#4 Post by Mark Ryan » July 31st, 2020, 3:27 pm

AD Northup wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:10 pm
Awesome Mark! Musar is a top 5 producer by holdings in my cellar. Will this be available on iTunes, etc when released in its full form?
Thanks! Yes, the film will be released digitally, we are working out the details now. Our Facebook page is the best place to stay informed:

https://www.facebook.com/wineandwar/

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#5 Post by Scott Tallman » July 31st, 2020, 3:39 pm

I’m super interested in this film. As I’m not on the Facebook, would greatly appreciate an update here when released. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#6 Post by Jim Stewart » July 31st, 2020, 3:54 pm

Enticing trailer, Mark. Looking forward to seeing your film.
The Lebanese are a very resilient people and have a way of debrouiller no matter what the situation. A French word that I think English has some rough equivalent of "making the best of a bad situation", but not exactly. More like being handed chaos and "noise" and finding a resourceful way to live and thrive and come out the other end.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#7 Post by ChrisWolff » July 31st, 2020, 6:42 pm

Looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#8 Post by Mark Ryan » July 31st, 2020, 7:30 pm

Scott Tallman wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 3:39 pm
As I’m not on the Facebook, would greatly appreciate an update here when released.
I'll definitely post updates here now that I see there's interest. Also, you can signup for email updates (sent once in a biodynamic blue moon) on our website: http://www.wineandwar.com

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#9 Post by Jan Janas » July 31st, 2020, 7:31 pm

Beautiful, cannot wait!

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#10 Post by Mark Ryan » July 31st, 2020, 7:37 pm

Jim Stewart wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 3:54 pm
The Lebanese are a very resilient people and have a way of debrouiller no matter what the situation.
Jim, you nailed exactly what intrigued us so much about the Lebanese. We heard it called joie de vivre however debrouiller is more precise. This was what intrigued everyone about Serge Hochar. 90% of Musar was consumed in Lebanon prior to the Civil War. Serge used to say "thank you War for forcing us to bring our wine to the rest of the world" because Musar today is now 90% (or perhaps more) exported.

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#11 Post by Mark Ryan » July 31st, 2020, 7:39 pm

AD Northup wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:10 pm
Awesome Mark! Musar is a top 5 producer by holdings in my cellar.
AD (and everyone else), what are some of your favorite vintages? Have you had the 1984?

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#12 Post by AD Northup » July 31st, 2020, 8:21 pm

Mark Ryan wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 7:39 pm
AD Northup wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 2:10 pm
Awesome Mark! Musar is a top 5 producer by holdings in my cellar.
AD (and everyone else), what are some of your favorite vintages? Have you had the 1984?
Been looking for 84 at a “reasonable” price for long time. Personal favorites are 87, 99 and 00....but haven’t had older the 87 yet.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#13 Post by Mark Ryan » August 1st, 2020, 9:47 am

AD Northup wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 8:21 pm
Been looking for 84 at a “reasonable” price for long time. Personal favorites are 87, 99 and 00....but haven’t had older the 87 yet.
99 and 00 are great vintages. My favorites at the moment are the 95 and 06.

The documentary goes into depth on the 1984 and 2006 harvests, both of which nearly never happened due to battles very close to the vineyards.

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#14 Post by Steen T Olsen » August 1st, 2020, 10:06 am

Very interesting, Mark. Thank you for sharing with the Berserkers Board. I am not on facebook but look forward to your updates on this site.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#15 Post by Nicholas C » August 1st, 2020, 10:44 am

Looks really interesting, looking forward to it coming out.

Mark have you ever explored any of the wines coming out of neighboring Jordan?

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#16 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 » August 1st, 2020, 10:56 am

Very cool Mark. Enjoyed the trailer. I'll be on the watch for it.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#17 Post by AD Northup » August 1st, 2020, 1:00 pm

Nicholas C wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 10:44 am
Looks really interesting, looking forward to it coming out.

Mark have you ever explored any of the wines coming out of neighboring Jordan?
When we visited we came home with a couple of bottles from Saint George Winery. Cheap and honestly lacking any sort of charm. Most of what we drank there that was domestic was the same.
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2020 WsOTY:

2015 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Presle (#1)
1954 Fontanafredda Barbaresco
2015 Ultramarine BdB

2019 WsOTY:
1994 Edmunds St. John Les Côtes Sauvages
2016 P. S. Garcia Grenache Piedra Lisa
2002 Perrier-Jouet Belle Époque
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#18 Post by Mark Ryan » August 1st, 2020, 1:17 pm

Nicholas C wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 10:44 am
Mark have you ever explored any of the wines coming out of neighboring Jordan?
I drove by coming from Petra however the winery was closed. Like AD, I've heard Jordanian wines weren't great however that was years ago.

IMO, it mainly has to do with irrigation: the premier wine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean region are the Bekaa Valley and the Golan Heights because both are high elevation plains with interesting soil and regular rainfall. In Lebanon there are newer regions such as the Batroun Mountains which are coastal and show a lot of promise.
Last edited by Mark Ryan on August 1st, 2020, 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#19 Post by AD Northup » August 1st, 2020, 1:19 pm

Mark Ryan wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:17 pm
Nicholas C wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 10:44 am
Mark have you ever explored any of the wines coming out of neighboring Jordan?
I drove by coming from Petra however the winery was closed. Like AD, I've heard Jordanian wines weren't great however that was years ago.

IMO, it mainly has to do with irrigation: the premier wine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean region are the Bekaa Valley and the Golan Heights, because both are high elevation plains with interesting soil and regular rainfall. In Lebanon there are newer regions such as the Batroun Mountains which are coastal and show a lot of promise.
+1 on Golan Heights. Some pretty good and interesting wines coming out of Israel these days.
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2020 WsOTY:

2015 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Presle (#1)
1954 Fontanafredda Barbaresco
2015 Ultramarine BdB

2019 WsOTY:
1994 Edmunds St. John Les Côtes Sauvages
2016 P. S. Garcia Grenache Piedra Lisa
2002 Perrier-Jouet Belle Époque
2005 Faja dos Padres Malvasia

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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#20 Post by Grant Phillips » August 2nd, 2020, 9:20 am

Can’t wait to watch!
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#21 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » August 2nd, 2020, 9:28 am

Well done sirs, nice piece of good news in 2020.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#22 Post by Mark Golodetz » August 2nd, 2020, 9:40 am

This looks great. Looking forward to watching it.

Can I suggest you keep the background music to a minimum. For me it added nothing, and was very distracting.
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Re: Lebanon Wine Documentary - "WINE and WAR"

#23 Post by Mark Ryan » August 2nd, 2020, 2:20 pm

Hey, also wanted to let you know that we are holding semi-weekly Zoom calls with Lebanese winemakers, hosted by the wine author Michael Karam. We already spoke with Chateau Musar, the recording is forthcoming. I'll post all updates on this thread.

In the meantime, here's a good chat with winemaker Faozi Issa of Domaine des Tourelles, which is the oldest commercial winery in Lebanon (1868):

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Re: WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

#24 Post by Mark Ryan » August 4th, 2020, 12:18 pm

This Thursday we are hosting a Zoom call with the owner/winemakers of Massaya. In light of the Beirut explosion which occurred just hours ago, the Thurs. call may be postponed. Notice will be given here.

EDIT: THE WEBINAR HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT WEEK.

Thursday August 6th, Streaming Live from Beirut at 6pm (4pm UK, 12pm Sao Paulo, 11am New York City, and 8am California time).
AND please join the discussion on Zoom using the direct link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3318916777

About the Winery:

Founded in 1996, Massaya, which in a rather lovely way, means the soft, glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon at dusk, is a unique Franco-Lebanese partnership forged between Lebanese brothers Ramzi and Sami Ghosn, the Brunier brothers of Domaine Le Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Dominique Hébrard, once of Château Cheval Blanc in Saint-Émilion. Together they have created one of the most successful Lebanese wineries to emerge in the past quarter of a century.

Story begins however at the outbreak of the 1975-90 civil war, a conflict that was to leave a lasting impression on Sami and Ramzi, who aged nine and seven respectively, they had to abandon their beloved family property in the Bekaa. ‘They were the best years of our lives,’ remembered Sami. ‘There was a lot of feasting and drinking and zajal (Arabic poetry). Back then the Bekaa was pure. There was no concrete.’

The idyll ended with the war and a mad escape from the property. ‘The foreman of the vineyards came one day in a hurry and informed my parents that they had to pack and leave in ten minutes because some people were massacred in the area,’ said Ramzi. ‘Our mother had a white Volvo,’ interjected Sami. ‘We all jumped in and drove off. Our dog, an Alsatian called Tigra, followed us the entire four kilometres to Chtaura. We were all crying. We never saw her again. We heard they shot her.’

It was the beginning of a nomadic life – from hotel to hotel, from friends to friends – to escape the war and attempt to make a living out of the situation. ‘My parents tried to explain to a kid of seven years old that he had to pack just important things and never come back to his country house. From ’75 until 1992, we couldn’t come back.’ Ramzi’s experience of having to forcibly leave would prove to be pivotal in another, shorter but brutal war, thirty-one years later.

Adapted from Lebanese Wine: A complete guide to its history and winemakers by Michael Karam.
Last edited by Mark Ryan on August 5th, 2020, 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

#25 Post by Mark Ryan » August 5th, 2020, 10:30 am

In light of the Beirut explosions, the webinar with Massaya has been postponed until next week.

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Re: WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

#26 Post by Sean S y d n e y » August 5th, 2020, 10:31 am

Mark Ryan wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 10:30 am
In light of the Beirut explosions, the webinar with Massaya has been postponed until next week.
Hope that all are safe and well as can be.
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Re: WINE and WAR - Lebanon Wine Documentary

#27 Post by Thomas Keim » August 5th, 2020, 10:55 am

Thanks for the heads up - can't wait to see it -
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