Six months after Lebanon was rocked by a devastating chemical explosion in the Port of Beirut, we spoke to Faouzi Issa, winemaker and owner of Domaine des Tourelles.
He gave his thoughts on how they have coped in the aftermath and how he is working towards the future.
The problem is that the blast took the country’s anxiety level to a new high. And now with the pandemic and the currency inflation, things are beginning to feel a little out of control.
I bumped into a fellow winemaker yesterday, so I invited him for coffee, and we chatted for several hours in the garden at my winery about the industry and the situation in Lebanon. He noticed that we have some construction work going on as we are expanding the winery, and told me he was surprised to see that I was still investing in this country.
I had to agree with him, it is surprising to find optimism for the future here. I never thought that we would reach such a low point in terms of stability and fear. But what makes me feel protected is that I am not investing in this country, I am investing in my winery. Which means I am investing in my export markets – which are my future.
I came back to Lebanon from studying winemaking and working in France in 2008 and even back then it felt risky. We have faced different challenges pretty much every year since then, but in that time my business has grown tenfold.
I feel that since the blast I am trying to be more reactive and energetic at work. Taking quick decisions, not overthinking things. Moving forward in every project, living in the moment. Maybe it’s reaction to what is going on around me; distracting my mind with interesting projects, dreaming big. It’s definitely been time for some blue-sky thinking!
I have just taken on 30 new hectares for planting; I am expanding my winery, adding 300,000L capacity in my tanks, launching a new wine.
People say that the Lebanese are positive people. But I don’t think it’s a character trait we are born with, I think it’s a choice we make because we have to in order to carry on – part of our survival instinct.
Instagram – @domainedestourelles