In 1888, the Touma Family established one of the first wineries and distilleries in Lebanon in the small town of Kab-elias of the Bekaa Valley (45 kilometers from Beirut) , to produce wine and Arak Touma, which is now perhaps Lebanon’s leading arak brand.
Historically, the settlement goes back to the time of the Phoenicians, but the name was later changed to “Kaber Elias” (tomb of the prophet Elias), as it was believed that the prophet Elias was buried here. The Bible reports of the Prophet’s ascension to heaven in a fiery chariot at the point where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus later, but the tradition of the Elijah tomb has been preserved to this day, not only among Christians, but also among the majority of the Muslim residents.
During the Lebanese civil war, many Christians left Kab Elias, as they did elsewhere in Lebanon. The Touma family also had to choose to stay or leave. It was decided to stay and continue to fight and work for a presence of the Christians on the ground. In 1997, an old school building from 1932 was bought and converted into the new winery. The attempt was made to preserve the character of the original architecture in the center of Kab Elias despite all the necessary refurbishment and renovation work and alterations.
Bekaa Valley is a 40-mile-long and 7-mile-wide fertile valley which is protected from rain by the Mount Lebanon mountain range to the west, and from the desert heat by the mountains on the Syrian border to the west. It lies around 1,000 metres above sea level allowing for a significant diurnal swing between the hot summer days and cool nights. The treacherous road to Beirut over the top of Mount Lebanon is frequently closed in winter due to snow. The majority of Château Héritage’s vines are on the lower south-east facing slopes of Mt Lebanon, just above the winery, which ensures they’re well drained with great exposure to sunlight, while being slightly cooler than the valley floor vineyards. The estate’s top wine, from their best parcels of vineyard.
FOOD PAIRING: Duck, red meats, and raclette.