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H&K Wine Agencies to land Palestine wine

Published:  17 June, 2024

New UK-based wine agency business H&K Wine Agencies is set to represent Cremisan Winery as its broker in the UK in what is believed to currently be the only Palestine producer to be offered here from the Middle-Eastern territories.

The winery, which has its roots in the founding of a ‘religious educational house’ by an Italian missionary in 1885, sits 5km from Bethlehem and majors in indigenous grapes such as Baladi, Hamdani Jandali and Dabouki, being the first Palestinian producer to use local grapes on a commercial scale.

According to a collaborative study undertaken between Trento and Udine University, Hebron University and the genetic centre at San Michele All’Adge, the West Bank has some 21 different genotypes, of which four were chosen to produce wines by Cremisan after a series of micro-vinification trials.

H&K Wine Agencies, which was officially launched earlier this year to offer a brokerage service to wineries, has been set up by founders Harry Hunt and Michael Karam to “focus on the winemaking regions along the ancient Phoenician trade route” and introduce such wines to importers to supply the quality on-trade and independent merchant sectors.

The company has ‘soft launched’ with a portfolio drawn from Karam’s native Lebanon, plus Crete, Georgia, Syria and Palestine, with Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Southern Italy, Malta, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa, the Balearics and the Spanish Mediterranean all within its sights.

In addition to the UK, talks are already in progress with importers in Canada, Ireland and the US with regard to the existing portfolio.  

While Karam brings a wealth of regional knowledge to the table (including a background in promoting and writing about Lebanese wines), Hunt has a decade’s worth of experience running a négociant-style production business in southern Spain called Bodegas Tierra Hermosa, which exported its own wine brands internationally, but which hit a wall with Brexit and the pandemic.

Speaking exclusively to Harpers, Karam explained: “We want to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the wines being produced across these regions, helping them get the labelling, the marketing, their expectation right for markets like the UK, USA… and the time is right because of the growing interest in authentic and individual wines.

“With the Palestine winery, as with all our agencies, quality comes first, of course. [But] wine is a massive soft power asset that can offset the often negative reputation of the region. It can send a compelling message of tradition, history and generosity of spirit, that feeds into other positive stuff such as lifestyle and food.”

Harpers will be running a full Q&A with Karam and Hunt in our forthcoming July print and digital issues.