AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 49 & The Best Vineyard in Asia
Name of wine estate: Château Heritage
Wine region: Bekaa Valley
Standout points: Historic region with UNESCO Heritage ruins of Baalbek
Winemaker: Dargham Touma
Wine style: Old World French-inspired reds
The wine road less travelled
For oenophiles thirsty for discoveries off the beaten track, a trip to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon could be just the thing. This Middle East nation boasts a wine-producing history dating back to Phoenician times and, despite political upheaval (not least the 1975-1990 civil war), a handful of premium wineries are intent on upholding this tradition. Château Heritage, in the small town of Kab Elias, near Zahle in the fertile Bekaa Valley, is one such winery.
The château that arak built
The original family business set up in 1888 centred on the production of arak, the anise spirit that is Lebanon’s national drink. Building on the global success of its Arak Touma, the château run by the three great-grandsons of the founder has developed a global reputation for high-quality Lebanese wine made from non-irrigated vines of mainly French red varieties in the Bekaa Valley, especially the hilly upper reaches of the historic valley.
The fertile valley
The idyllic Bekaa Valley itself is reason alone to embark on a trip. Among other claims to fame, it is home to the impressive ruins of Baalbek – the Heliopolis of ancient Greece and Rome in which the UNESCO Heritage site of the Temple of Bacchus can be found. Château Heritage is the perfect place from which wine lovers can discover this history-steeped pastoral landscape.
Unmatched scenery, unmatched service
From visiting the recently renovated wine cellar and the vineyards in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, to spending a day with hiking and touring the historic sites of Kab Elias, to enjoying authentic rural Lebanese cuisine at the winery restaurant and the on-site bed and breakfast facilities, the château itself is equipped to provide intrepid winos with the works. Tours can also include a visit to the chateau’s own farm where you can pick your own vegetables directly from the land.