Wine tastings in Mar Moussa
Wine making and monasteries have a long tradition, especially in Europe. It may come as a surprise that there are about eight Maronite monasteries in the Lebanon which follow this time honored tradition with a modern twist: producing not only fine wines but organic ones too.
One of them is the 18th century monastery of Mar Moussa, its square red brick walls having been erected over the remains of an ancient sanctuary and sitting proudly atop a hill amidst pine trees and the fertile grounds which produce grapes at an altitude of approx. 3000 feet in the Metn region northeast of Beirut.
A drive from Beirut to Dhour el Choueir makes for a nice day trip combined with a visit to the black bearded Maronite monks of Mar Moussa who will proudly explain the mission behind the Adyar project which has made quite a splash as being the first certified organic wine of Lebanon.
Approx. 30 wineries, many of them located in the fertile Bekaa Valley, compete for the Lebanon market, a country known for its love of good quality wine which plays a great part in everyday life.
Adyar, which is the Arabic word for monasteries, carries a distinctive label, the Maronite cross. With a twinkle in their eyes the monks will explain that Jesus transformed water into wine, that there is a strong connection between the bible and wine and that their aim is to work the land and create jobs for the community as well as producing a clean, first class product with a special divine blessing.
Countless barrels of wine are stacked in the cellars below the monastery proper and you can taste to your heart’s content whilst enjoying the lush green countryside and the view of the Lebanese mountains.
Maybe you want to hear further north to Kfifan where another winery is located, all in all eight spread all over the country which make up the entire Adyar project under different labels.