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Domaine Wardy: Winery & Distillery in the heart of the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Photo for: Domaine Wardy: Winery & Distillery in the heart of the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

29/10/2020 Our story is that of two neighboring families from Zahle, Lebanon -- the Wardys and the Cortases.

By Khalil Wardy, Domaine Wardy.

As Wardys we acquired our surname from our great-great-grandmother Wardy Mousallem (Wardy meaning rose in Arabic) who, left a young widow and a single mother after her husband was killed, came into her own and assumed the role of matriarch to the family so much so that her children became referred to as Wardy’s children, the house became Wardy’s house, the vineyard Wardy’s vineyard… the family became the Wardy rather than the Mousallem family. She must have been an extraordinary woman. An artisanal rose will feature in her honor on all our labels (starting with the wines labeled after 2018).

Picture: Planting in the age of Corona, part 2... Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon on the slopes of Zahle

Picture: Planting in the age of Corona, part 2... Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon on the slopes of Zahle.

Whereas the Wardys made wine and arak, like most Lebanese homes at the time, for domestic consumption it was the Cortases who made a commercial business out of fermentation and distillation.

Our great-grandfather Rachid Cortas started a winery in Zahle in 1881, three of his children followed suit each with his own brand including our grandfather Habib Cortas who in partnership with his neighbor Toufiq Wardy moved to Aleppo and opened a winery over there; and that’s how our parents George Wardy and Marleine Cortas were introduced to one another… in a sense we are the products of that winery in Aleppo.

Today Domaine Wardy is owned and run by four Wardy siblings and is located in Zahle the capital of one of the most ancient wine regions in the world -- The Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, a dry high-altitude plateau protected from the Mediterranean humidity to the west and the desert heat to the east by the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountain ranges respectively; its wide diurnal range makes it ideal for viticulture. 

Winning silver medal at the 2020 London Wine Competitions

Winning silver medal at the 2020 London Wine Competitions

We are very proud to champion our indigenous white grape Obeidi, a sweet, golden-colored, late ripening but difficult to handle variety traditionally used for distillation and very pleased to win two silver medals at the Sommeliers Choice Awards for its two incarnations.

As a single varietal, the oaked 2016 Obeidi (Trophy winner at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London with a score of 96/100) has a soft glow of mastic, beeswax, quince marmalade, white peach and marzipan. Remarkably it keeps getting more intense with age.

In our 2018 unoaked blend “Beqaa Valley White” it adds softness to the freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc and the fragrance of the Viognier. The award winning color-coded label used for all our unoaked blends spells “Wardy” vertically in Arabic calligraphy.

Winning silver medals at the 2020 Sommeliers Choice Awards

Winning silver medals at the 2020 Sommeliers Choice Awards

Our third medal is for our 2013 single-varietal Cinsault. The Cinsualt was introduced to the Beqaa Valley by French Jesuit monks in the 19th century… it became so widely planted that people presumed it was a local variety and nicknamed it Zaytouni (The Olive) because the grape resembles a black olive. The labels of our single-varietals are intended to give clues regarding each wine… the designs are traditional mosaics to indicate the origin of the wine: Lebanon, the colors are based on the aromatic profile of each variety, and the wood texture indicates that the wine has been oaked.

The fourth medal is for our 2015 oaked blend “Chateau les Cedres” (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot), proudly wearing our national symbol the Cedar of Lebanon, this wine has consistently proven to be one of our highest regarded and best-selling wines.

We are currently looking for a distributor in the USA.

Please contact khalil@domainewardy.com

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