Wine making in this region of the globe goes as far back as the Phoenicians, making it one of the oldest site of wine making in the world. The industry has had its ups and downs, but since the end of the Civil War in 1990, vineyards have made a strong comeback. There are now over 30 active vineyards in Lebanon, with most of them located in the Bekaa Valley.
We had our first look at the Bekaa Valley on Sunday when we traveled to the Massaya vineyard and restaurant with a group of 25 other folks from ACS. Unfortunately, we did not get a real good look at the valley as the vineyard sits at the foot of the Lebanese Mountain range, right off the Damascus road. The vineyard itself wasn’t much to look, as it sits in the middle of a rather grim, industrial area. Once you enter the vineyard it is pleasant enough, although
the grapes had been harvested and they do not give tours of the wine making facilities. What the afternoon was really about was a casual yet large buffet style lunch under the shade of arbors. The meal included many of the typical Lebanese meal items; manouches, hummus, breads, salads, olives, variations of eggplant and cheeses. It also included barbequed chicken and several kabobs as well as kibbe, a spiced meatloaf type dish. The meal price included all the Massaya wine you could drink.
Sharon and I and a few others were disappointed to learn they were out of white wine, but we were surprised to find that we enjoyed one of their reds. So much so we bought a few bottles. The setting was relaxed and very pleasant, and the trip made for a nice Sunday afternoon.