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Wine & War documents trials and triumphs of winemaking in Lebanon

Published:  28 September, 2020

A new documentary film entitled ‘Wine & War: The Untold Story of Wine in the Middle East’ is to focus on the resilience of Lebanese winemaking as seen “through the lens of war and instability”.

To be released virtually on 9 October with the strapline, ‘The most dangerous wines in world’, the film recounts the troubled history faced by Lebanese winemakers through periods including the 1975-90 civil war and 2006 Summer War, right up to the current regional and political instability.

The film features such high profile Lebanese winemakers such as Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar and Michel de Bustros of Chateau Kefraya, among others, along with Jancis Robinson MW and Eat, Pray, Love author Liz Gilbert.

All proceeds from the film’s release will go to CAP-HO, a charity providing medical care to children without insurance whose lives were hit by the 4 August explosion in the Lebanese capital.

In a joint statement, co-directors Mark Johnston and Mark Ryan said they had “set out to change the perceptions of the Middle East – and in particular the tiny nation of Lebanon – by examining an enigmatic and misunderstood part of the world with winemakers who had a story to tell”.

Seven years in the making, inspiration for the documentary came from Lebanese wine expert Michael Karam’s 2013 book, Wines of Lebanon.

That publication highlighted “the winemakers' astonishing stories tell of bravery, determination, and survival and how wine can be a unifier and a metaphor for life, hospitality, civilization, and above all, a force for good in a region defined by turmoil and animosity”, according to the directors.

Wine & War’s release will take place on a new virtual cinema platform developed by the Laemmle Theater chain, also being featured on the new Altavod digital platform developed by the Coppola family.

Click though here for the Wine & War trailer, with the full-length version appearing on 9 October via the website