Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

Although it lags behind other Mediterranean countries in terms of production, Lebanon still boasts a considerable wine culture and nearly a dozen wineries. And because the country was part of the French mandate as well as being a large tourist hub in the Levant, wine is featured heavily in many restaurants and stores here. Beirut even hosts a yearly wine festival to promote its own viniculture. Much of Lebanon’s wine is produced in the Bekaa Valley in the eastern part of the country, but there is a growing number of boutique wineries perched upon the beautiful mountains not far from Beirut. A spur-of-the-moment road trip took us to one such property: Chateau Belle-Vue in the Mount Lebanon village of Bhamdoun.

Bhamdoun has been a favorite summer destination for decades, and many Lebanese and wealthy Gulf Arabs keep summer homes here because of its high elevation and its proximity to Beirut. The town’s tourism is more family-oriented, and many restaurants and cafés can accommodate larger parties, so we were quite surprised that a boutique winery and delicious French restaurant had gone unnoticed for years. And to top that, they make one of the best white wines we’ve tasted in Lebanon.

Naji Boutros, the owner and a Bhamdoun native, started the winery after the civil war had ended, as a way to contribute to his hometown. Although the winery is relatively new, with its first barrels of wine produced in 2003, the property has a rich history. “The grounds of the winery are actually that of the French embassy to Mount Lebanon and also served as the French embassy for Jordan and Iraq,” Sandra Haddad, one of the winery’s partners, told us. “Naji had been living in the UK at the time and wanted to come back and do something for his hometown, so he started the winery. The lands where the grapes are grown are leased from local farmers so they can generate an income and not have to sell their land. We also try to buy a lot of the products for the restaurant from local producers.”

Asked how the delicious wine was produced, Haddad replied: “All the grape seeds were imported from Bordeaux, and this is why we serve mostly French-style food to pair with our wine.”

Belle-Vue produces four different wines: two reds, Le Chateau and La Glazed pork rib steak and Le Petit Geste at Chateau Belle-Vue's restaurant, Le Telegraphe, photo by Paul GadallaRenaissance, and two whites, Blanc de Telegraphe and Petit Geste. It was warm and sunny the day we visited, so we stuck with the white. The Blanc de Telegraphe was a great aperitif to go along with our charcuterie, but the standout was the Petit Geste, which was fruity and smooth and went well with the restaurant’s glazed pork rib steak. (Lunch at the restaurant runs about US$25 to $30 per person.)

“We opened the restaurant three years ago after people kept asking if there was any food to go with the wine,” Haddad said. The grounds now also host a wedding venue and seven-room boutique hotel.

The winery now produces 20,000 bottles a year, and the wines are sold in select stores and restaurants in Beirut and are also exported to the U.S. and UK. Given the chance, however, we think sipping their white wine in their beautiful garden is a must.

Chateau Belle-Vue
Location: Bhamdoun Main Street, Bhamdoun, Aley, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon
Telephone: +961 70 628 383
Hours: noon-4pm & 7pm-midnight; closed Monday
Get directionsExport as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
Chateau Belle-Vue, Bhamdoun Main Street

loading map - please wait...

Chateau Belle-Vue, Bhamdoun Main Street 33.797935, 35.661353 (Directions)

Paul Gadalla
Paul Gadalla and Rita Makhoul

Related stories

Join us for an exclusive visit to this winery followed by a village-style feast.
June 9, 2017

Andro Barnovi: In Service of Wine and Country

By Paul Rimple
Tbilisi -- Drive west of Tbilisi for about an hour on the backroad to Gori and you will find yourself in the heart of the Shida Kartli wine region. It is an awesome expanse of plains, rolling hills, jagged ridges and hidden valleys that provide a myriad of terroirs that grow some of Georgia’s most…
October 10, 2016

Wine Harvest Week: Quinta do Vallado's Sixth-Generation Douro Boys

By Célia Pedroso
Lisbon -- Celebrating its 300th birthday this year, the Quinta do Vallado estate, located near Peso da Régua in the heart of the Douro valley, is integral to the history of the region. The current owners are the sixth-generation descendants of D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, a legendary visionary and businesswoman who, in the 19th century,…
colares wine
September 14, 2018

CB on the Road: The Invincible Vines of the Colares Wine Region

By Célia Pedroso
Lisbon -- They withstood the phylloxera and the strong Atlantic winds, and are slowly fighting back against urban expansion, so it’s no surprise that a glass of wine made from grapes grown in Colares tastes like no other. The smallest wine region in Portugal, Colares is also probably one of its most distinct. Located on…