Since its creation in 1857 by members of the Lebanese Jesuit community, the vineyard at Chateau Ksara has produced award winning wines ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah, from Gewurtzraminer to Chardonnay. Set in the Bekaa Valley at an average altitude of 3,300 feet, Chateau Ksara benefits from fertile clays soils and the warm days and cool nights of a classically Mediterranean climate.
The oldest and largest winery in Lebanon, Chateau Ksara is conveniently set on the road between the Lebanese capital of Beirut and the historic ruins of Baalbek. Visitors to Chateau Ksara are invited to take a complimentary tour of the ornately manicured property and sample some locally crafted Lebanese wines. Those wanting to broaden their palate should also try a glass of arak, the national drink of Lebanon which can be found in various forms throughout the Middle East.
A particular highlight of touring Chateau Ksara is viewing the ancient grotto which is now used as a massive storage room. Accidentally discovered in 1898 by the Jesuit winemakers, the 1.2 mile long subterranean grotto is carved into limestone rock and believed to date back to the Roman period nearly 2,000 years ago. Though its exact origins are still uncertain, the cool, dark recesses of the grotto provide the perfect temperature for storing and aging wines. Thanks to this fortuitous twist of fate, as many as 900,000 bottles are currently stored in the grotto with a few vintages dating as far back as 1918.