Nobody knows when wine was first made in Lebanon, although the Phoenician ancestors of today's Lebanese were certainly among the earliest winemakers. Later, in the Greco-Roman era, a wine cult flourished,as the ruins of the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbeck in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley bear eloquent witness.
In the heart of the Bekaa, near Baalbeck, lies the Ksara estate, so named because it was the site of a ksar, or fortress, at the time of the Crusades. The property was acquired by the Jesuit Fathers in 1857 when it was already famed as a vineyard and they perpetuated the tradition of winemaking.
In particular, they pioneered the introduction of high-quality vines in Lebanon. New varietals, enjoying the exceptional climatic conditions in the Bekaa, were cultivated at Ksara and later at Tanail, an estate of 240 hectares (600 acres) which also belonged to the Jesuit Fathers and which sent all its grapes to Ksara's cellars.
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