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Last Syrian vineyard keeps wine flowing despite war

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09/10/2014 07:12 PM

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Last Syrian vineyard keeps wine flowing despite war
[link to english.alarabiya.net]
Amid the war in Syria, one hillside vineyard still produces wines that are served in the Michelin-starred restaurants of London and Paris.

It has been a struggle to keep Syria’s last commercial vineyard open, the owner of Domaine de Bargylus says. The war, which started in 2011, has engulfed the whole country, and militias on both sides fight in every province.

Sandro Saade and his brother Karim, Christians with family roots in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon, planted grape vines on the tree-lined peaks of the Mediterranean province of Latakia in 2003, two millennia after the Romans used the same slopes for their own wineries. Bargylus’ first vintage was in 2006.

Syria’s rebel forces - a mixture of hardline Islamists and other groups seeking to end the dynastic rule of President Bashar al-Assad - are in Latakia and started taking ground last year. Some of these groups have forbidden alcohol in areas they control but Bargylus vineyard has stayed in government-held territory throughout the conflict.

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