Unique design
The architecture of IXSIR’s Basbina winery is the brand’s pride and joy. Its basis around natural resources is exceptional in the landscape of a country that does not fully take advantage of them. Still, its green efforts have not gone unnoticed. CNN named IXSIR as one of its twelve worldwide Green Good Design establishments of 2011. © IXSIR
Unique design
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Last updated: April 29, 2013

Young Lebanese wine becomes supermarket staple

Long gone are the days when Lebanese wine-buyers had a handful of varieties to chose from. Perhaps it is the worldwide success of Chateau Musar that has spurred local winemaking ventures. But don’t lose interest yet; this is not another feature on Chateau Musar.

Winery ventures are especially tricky; unlike fads, consumers associate the musky spirit to a long history of production. It certainly cannot be classified as a fickle industry.

IXSIR, a winery based in Basbina in northern Lebanon, has intervened on such presumptions by becoming a supermarket staple. Established in 2009, it has proven that time and tradition are only necessary in the winemaking business should one lack proper PR and marketing.

With its charming name, minimalistic packaging and cheap shelf price, younger consumers have made it one of their primary choices. IXSIR’s social media presence is also noteworthy, considering the lack of online activity by other wineries.

Of course, the involvement of Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn as a passive partner helps.

The architecture of IXSIR’s Basbina winery is the brand’s pride and joy. Its basis around natural resources is exceptional in the landscape of a country that does not fully take advantage of them. Still, its green efforts have not gone unnoticed. CNN named IXSIR as one of its twelve worldwide Green Good Design establishments of 2011. 

From an outside standpoint of the winery, one would mistake it for a private stone house. The underground of the 400-year old Seigniorial House begs to differ. Using passive cellars, it is not in need of automated climate control to regulate temperature and humidity. Instead, storage quality relies on the beneath-ground climate consistency.

Ten grape varieties are collected from six vineyards spread around Lebanon, taking advantage of the country’s different clay terroirs and making sure no resource goes untapped.

Before new wineries emerge in light of IXSIR’s success, they should note that entrance into the industry is no walk in the park. The brand’s quick welcome cannot be attributed to market opportunity. On the contrary, the winemaking industry is ultra-competitive with big bottle names like Musar, Kefraya and Ksara.

What can the welcome be attributed to, then? As their slogan says, “the answer is within”.

Bana Bissat
Bana is a Beirut-based regular contributor to Your Middle East. Visit Bana's website www.bananapook.com.
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