Served sits down with Faouzi Issa, a successful Lebanese winemaker and producer of Lebanese wine Domaine des Tourelles from Bekaa Valley.
Founded in 1868, Domaine Les Tourelles, is the second-oldest winery in Lebanon is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary loudly and with a bang in large part thanks for the exuberant current co-owner and winemaker, 34-year-old Faouzi Issa , who studied in France and is full of energy and enthusiasm.
It is also one of the best, producing award-winning wines from grapes grown on mountain slopes near Chtaura in the Bekaa Valley.
What first attracted you to winemaking?
My love of agriculture and nature kicked things off and combined with the story of our family business and the potential of Lebanese terroir it felt like the right path for me.
Do you remember the wine that was “the one” that set you on this journey?
Yes absolutely! Domaine des Tourelles 1976! An exceptional wine from a vintage which came just after the Lebanese civil war.
What is your winemaking philosophy; that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Minimum intervention in the vines and wines. Even when using technology, I prefer the old methods, keeping the good tradition in preserving our land and nature.
Which grape varieties do you think are best suited to the Lebanese climate and soils?
Syrah and Cinsault .
What do you find to be the hardest part of the harvest?
There’s no hard part as far as I’m concerned! It is the most enjoyable part of the year and of the winemaking process.
How do you know when you have a great or special vintage?
The quality of the fruit and the concentration will determine an above average vintage.
What lies ahead for one of Lebanon’s top wine producers and winery?
We aim to continue to place Lebanese wines in every corner of the globe
What would be the best time to visit your winery in Lebanon?
May or September are by far the best months to really experience the winery and vineyards.