In 1990, the family's country house in the Beqaa near Tanaïl was exposed to the civil war and was inhabited by several squatter families. Vegetation was sparse due to damage to the wells and the absence of the fence. It took the Ghosns' best negotiating skills to retake the country.
On a visit to Ramzi in France, Sami went looking for a bottle for Arak and quickly came across a blue bottle made in Germany. A friend who worked for a leading advertising agency, Dany Richa, helped with the initial branding and confirmed the name Massaya as it means twilight in Lebanese, as the Beqaa skies darken at the specific moment the sun sets behind Lebanon sets blue with a similar hue to the blue bottle of Arak.
Gradually, Sami and Ramzi gave up their other professional activities to focus on the blue bottle of Arak. Both ambitious they wanted to expand into the wine field but had neither knowledge nor experience; Therefore, they decided to partner with some French domains to benefit from their expertise. They recklessly knocked on the door of a gentleman in Bordeaux, Dominique Hebrard, who was interested in the project. Then the Brunier family of le Vieux Télégraphe admitted their approval
The Ghosns and the French partners believed they could join this small wine market on condition that Massaya focus on quality and keep the size of the winery and vineyards humane. Thus, in 1998, the first new generation winery was launched, marking the renaissance of winemaking in Lebanon.
Winery and Terroir
It took several years for the Ghosns and their French partners to discover the right terroirs and grape varieties. About 10 years later, the Ghosns and the partners realized that the qualitative way forward should be based on new principles:
- The grape varieties should be climate resilient, meaning more heat and longer droughts.
- The terroirs in the Beqaa are not homogeneous and some zones, especially in the north, have the highest potential and deserve to be singled out.
- It is important to cultivate the white vines above 1100 m.
The final word in winemaking and blending should be in the hands of the Ghosns to avoid replicating the Rhone or Bordeaux wines. These principles gradually took shape in a challenging project: Massaya Faqra, the new horizon for Massaya in 2015-2025.