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Economic crisis worsens for Lebanon as harvest approaches

Published:  07 July, 2022

Lebanese winery IXSIR has called on exporters to help boost sales of its products abroad, as the country continues to fight ongoing crippling inflation and energy shortages.

Official figures show that inflation in Lebanon reached 215% in February 2022. By contrast, the UK’s Office of National Statistics reported record rates of inflation in the UK at 7.9% in the 12 months to April 2022. The cost of the basic food basket has seen a 351% increase since 2021, while the price of Diesel rose by 72% increase between February and April 2022 alone. (The country is now largely reliant on Diesel-powered generators, thanks to widespread energy shortages).

It is under such circumstances that IXSIR, among others, are now preparing for harvest. IXSIR said it continues to work to maintain a ‘healthy relationship’ with its farmers amid rising grape prices.

However, the focus is now on external trade outside of Lebanon’s troubled economy.

IXSIR CEO, Jad Esta, said: “In Lebanon’s current crisis, the only way that Lebanese wineries can survive is through exports. We at IXSIR are finding self-sufficient methods to continue production and to offer to the world outstanding wines. We are also calling all the wineries in Lebanon to join us, and as a united front to present our wines to foreign markets.”

Last year, Harpers reported how Lebanon’s fuel crisis has left wineries fighting for power, exacerbated by runaway inflation. As a country with an incredibly rich cultural and gastronomic scene, in recent years, winemakers have had to fight a worsening economic crisis, depreciating currency and political instability, as well as the tragic explosion that tore through the heart of Beirut in 2020.

Since last year, IXSIR has been focusing on making itself as self-sufficient as possible. Amidst Lebanon’s energy crisis, IXSIR is using a private generator as well as solar panels to power the winery. Skylights on the winery’s roof also help to maximise the use of sunlight across all floors, which also reach the cellar 12 metres underground.

IXSIR’s goal is to increase the use of solar energy this year by investing in a larger installation along with purchasing energy storage batteries.