Domaine Bargylus, near the town of Lattaquie, or Latakia, in the north-west of the country, is a 12ha vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.Bargylus is a part of an enterprise started in 2003 by the Lebanese-Syrian Saadé family, which bought land in Syria, and also in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, in order to make wine ‘which has everything to do with the land’.
Saadé businesses include marine and land transport, wine, tourism, property development and finance.
Although the Romans made wine here 2000 years ago, this is now the only commercial winery in Syria, Sandro Saadé, who with his brother Karim directs the company, said. ‘It is the only recognised wine produced to international standards.’
All other wines in the country, Saadé said, are ‘Vins de Messe’ – communion wines - and wines produced in cooperatives for non-commercial domestic consumption.
They have hired Bordeaux-based consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, who has some 60 consultancies in Bordeaux, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, California, Virginia, Spain, India and other regions.