A family-owned business built by dreamers who believed in their country despite all odds.
• Carol Tayyar Khoury: Founder, Managing Partner (member of Women Leaders Association)
• Imad Khoury: Co-Founder and General Manager
• Christopher Khoury: Co-Founder
• Natalie Khoury: Co-Founder
Having always enjoyed a glass of wine, but never imagined herself to be in the winemaking business, Carol Tayyar Khoury’s story with wine began in 2010, when she and her family returned to Lebanon after being in Dubai for more than 20 years.
Following the liberation of the south of Lebanon, Khoury could finally consider investing in a five dunams (5,000 meters squared) plot of land she owned in her hometown “Jdeidet Marjeyoun”, a town on the southern border of Lebanon, where both she and her husband “Imad Khoury” hail from.
Her major aim is to contribute to revitalizing the economy of her beloved village, generating jobs for the local community, attracting local tourism, and most importantly building the foundation and ties that her children can have towards their country “Lebanon”
After a thorough market analysis in the area, Carol realized there were no wineries in the region, which opened her eyes to the possibility of developing one in Marjeyoun, Therefore the first action would be to initially seek the knowledge and expertise of professionals in the field, touching base in testing the parameters of the land, soil, climate for the future success of the vineyard and the suitability of the terrain profile.
Having no background in agriculture or viticulture, Khoury knew her winemaking project would require external expertise and knowledge; Days passed, and although the idea of starting her own WINERY never left her mind, Khoury did not take steps in that direction.
Having decided to invest in an easier and safer path, she planted the land with olive, pine, and pomegranate trees, basing her decision on what the area and the farmers there were accustomed to deal with such as tending to olive crops and olive oil production, taking into consideration that the above will not conflict with her long-term aspiration and original plan since olive trees are often planted alongside vineyards.
In 2016, Khoury was introduced to Vigna Verde through her work contacts; A wine consultancy that helps interested investors cultivate their vines, equip their wineries and produce wines of all varieties. This encounter empowered her to embark on her winemaking project.
She decided to call her wine label LES VIGNES DU MARJE / Vin Du Marje, in homage to Marjeyoun. www.lesvignesdumarje.com
The collaboration began by determining the types of grapes and varieties that would be a match to the soil of the land targeted, where we ended up planting Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, sauvignon blanc, and Muscat.
Since Khoury’s vineyards would take three years to mature, and as a part of their existing consultancy contract, Vignaverdie facilities are being used for a part of the production, while the parallel plans to launch a small complete winery with a bistro restaurant in Marjeyoun as a final phase of Vin Du Marje is underway (complete project span, three to five years).
4 years later, and as of August 2022, the winery was up and running in Marjeyoun with a yearly production of 40,000 bottles per year. Here are the links for TRIPADVISOR
Khoury plans to manage her own distribution, counting on the support of Marjeyounis both locally and abroad, who were very excited to hear about this initiative; Expats living in Canada, the United States of America, Brazil, and many other countries were eager about the product’s launch and Point of sales, I am counting on their passion for Marjeyoun and the land to make the wine successful, especially because there is nothing similar to it in the area,” says Carol Khoury.
Our business was able to sustain and safeguard its continuity despite the exacerbation of the Lebanese crisis only one year after the firm was launched. It was able to do so by facing the challenges with steady steps and solid plans based on openness to foreign markets in order to secure steady income in foreign currencies which made it stay away from the dangerous repercussions dictated by the collapse of the Lebanese lira in its home country.
Seriously “No company or institution has been spared from the impacts of the severe crisis that affected Lebanon; For two years now, Lebanese businesses have been shutting down and leaving the country. At Les Vignes Du Marje we decided to face the crisis and adopt an expansion strategy to foreign markets, counting on the Lebanese expatriates to support their country’s spirits and wine industry.”
We have succeeded in creating a bridge with the Lebanese expatriates through websites and social media platforms to support Lebanon, its industry and Marjeyoun, the Lebanese town that cradles the vineyards of Les Vignes Du Marje.” “The Lebanese expatriates, known for their love and loyalty to Lebanon, took the initiative to support the firm and buy its products from Lebanon.” Through the deal with LEBZONE (catering for online shopping worldwide). “This strategy enabled Les Vignes du Marje to conclude agreements with Arab countries, specifically in the UAE – Dubai, where various products are now put on the market. We did also tap the American markets, especially Canada, where we currently have an agent after close cooperation with the Lebanese Embassy in Canada.”
The European markets are the next target of Les Vignes Du Marje, as the Lebanese firm is striving to set foot in Germany, USA and other European countries during the upcoming couple of months,” adding that Les Vignes Du Marje had a remarkable participation in Expo Dubai 2020 earlier this year where the firm’s wine products were exhibited, and Le Vin du Marje Rose reaped a mark of 88/100.
“Les Vignes du Marje is endeavouring to support the labour force in Marjeyoun, by making the town’s products including thyme, Kichk, freekeh and olive oil accessible to Lebanese expatriates on websites and social media platforms. The firm succeeded in selling the town’s production and securing income in foreign currencies to a large segment of Marjeyoun residents.”
Les Vignes Du Marje offers today “a wide variety of Red, white, and Rose wine products, namely: Le Vin Du Marje, Le Rouge Du Marje (92pts APVSA NEWYORK 2020), Couvent De M (Red chateau winner of coup de Coeur Award in 2019).
In addition to wine products, Les Vignes du Marje offers Arak (Arak du Marje) and Limoncello (Limoncello- Jdeida Rocks) along with a full collection of local products including Thyme, Kichk, Frikeh, honey, olive oil and soon Vodka and Gin.
Talking about competition in the industry, I believe it is good as everyone competes to offer the best products at the best prices”, adding that “as a small enterprise, Les Vignes Du Marje, does not have a competitive edge in terms of prices, as bottles, corks and other necessary accessories are all imported. Yet, the brand has been able to convince consumers with its high quality.”
Khoury called on the government to “help industrialists import raw materials for wineries, and open up to foreign markets by taking export-facilitating measures. This would ensure the viability of the Lebanese firms, maintain job opportunities and activate the Economy”.
I also stressed on “the necessity of adopting the customs dollar price that does not constitute a heavy burden on industrialists and enables the wine sector to continue, as it constitutes one of the bright faces of Lebanon.”
“the firm’s future plans consist of further expanding into foreign markets, and raising high the name of the Lebanese industry through its brand by competing with international products, following in the footsteps of many Lebanese industrialists who promoted the “Made in Lebanon” motto in many countries across the world.
One last word to succeed we need to have passion and perseverance. Without both we cannot move forward in our dreams: walk the talk!
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