“Switzerland offers exporters a market where consumers have a very good purchasing power”
- Gaston Hochar
Why do you export to Switzerland? Is it an important market for you?
Our wines are well-known amongst connoisseurs and wine-lovers from all around the world. The Swiss market is also a market where we have followers who appreciate our products. We have been present in Switzerland for more than 25 years and well-represented by our distributor there who has done a great job in promoting Musar in that country. We are today represented by three distributors who cover the different parts of this very nice country.
We try to be present in all the markets that have an interest in our wines. Therefore every market is important for us; not always by the quantities we sell there but by the presence and positioning we have in those markets and to be able to serve our followers and customers.
Do you think the Swiss find your product appealing? Why?
The Swiss, like other consumers around the world, find our products unique and different from the wines they can usually find on their markets. Those who find our philosophical approach to wine interesting and an eye-opener, are then hooked to our products and become very active followers of our brand and wines.
What made you choose Switzerland as your export market?
We were approached by an importer more than 30 years ago, as he saw that Swiss consumers were very interested in our wines. This is still continuing today with our distributors that are representing us in a very productive way. We develop all export markets that have an interest in our products, and Switzerland is definitely one of those.
What has it been like working with the Swiss?
The Swiss market is very open and very competitive. They are very demanding with the quality of the product.
Does Switzerland facilitate trade with Lebanon? What does it offer potential exporters?
Switzerland is quite an open market, and it offers exporters the regularity of the demand on their products, if the manufacturers are able to work on a regular basis with high quality products and competitive prices. It is a market where consumers have a very good purchasing power.
Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world; evidence from ancient Rome shows wine was cultivated and then domesticated in Lebanon, at least two thousand years before Alexander the Great. Vines grew readily in the land of Canaan, the coastal strip of today’s Lebanon, and the wines of Byblos (Jbeil) were exported to Egypt during the Old Kingdom (2686 BC–2134 BC).
The wines of Tyre and Sidon were famous throughout the ancient Mediterranean.
Lebanon has a rich heritage of indigenous grapes which are attracting more attention:
Chateau Musar White is made from a blend of Obeideh and Merwah, and offers finesse and great complexity.
Chateau Musar is perhaps the best known in the West; it was a particular favorite of Auberon Waugh.
Chateau Musar achieved international recognition at the Bristol Wine Fair in 1979, and was, for a long time, the only Lebanese wine widely available in the United Kingdom.
It is a full-bodied, elegant and complex red wine with a unique taste, and has great aging potential.
The second wine, ‘Hochar Pere et Fils’, is made from a different blend and in a lighter style for earlier drinking.