Château Musar is located in the Bekaa Valley, in Lebanon. It was created by Gaston Hochar in 1930 when he was only 20 years-old and inspired by Lebanon’s 6,000-year winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. Serge Hochar, his son, started producing wines at the end of 1950. His brother, Ronald, joined at the beginning of 1960. In 1975, 97% of the production was sold locally. It picked up after the Bristol Wine Fair of 1979 and, in 1990, at the end of the civil war, the export accounted for 97% of the production. The 3rd generation of the Hochar family started joining in 1994 and is still a family-run-business. Nowadays, 85% of the production is sold in export. They produce 700,000 bottles per year.
The vineyard spreads over 200 hectares of vines, in between two mountain chains that protects from humidity of the Mediterranean Sea and the heat from the Syrian desert. They produce 75% of red wine, 15% white, 5% rosé and 5% arack. Most of the vineyard (90%) is located in the Bekaa Valley at 1,000 meters of altitude. All the red production is in the South West of the Bekaa.
A change of style was initiated by Serge Hochar and in 1995, the volatile acids that were around 0.75/0.85 have been reduced to 0.75/0.80 as it can be seen as “negative” when volatile acids are above 0.80 in the short term. Climate change has been affecting the grapes so they changed harvesting time and pick up the grapes when they are mature. Gaston Hochar and his brothers are developing small vineyards, with new plantings but without changing the style or the name. The wines are still the result from the same blends. They are also increasing the capacity of the winery for young, entry-level wines. Their philosophy is to keep the price low for their loyal customers, as they are selling their wines to amateurs because Lebanon is not very famous.