The history of Château Ka is one that reflects the historical turbulence that has buffeted Lebanon over the last 40 years or more.
Owner Akram Kassatly had a dream of making wine in his homeland and went to Dijon in Burgundy to train before returning to team up with his brother and building a winery in 1973. He delightedly set about making his first vintage.
Alas, in 1974 political unrest in Lebanon turned to civil war and not long after it began the militia arrived at the winery to destroy and loot whatever they could lay their hands on. Part of this destruction included the opening of the tanks and the loss of 500,000 litres of wine. Akram returned heavy-heartedly to the family business making soft drinks and syrups, which he now heads and which is a household name in Lebanon, but he never gave up on his dream.
Once relative stability returned to Lebanon Akram secretly began buying vineyards and in 2005 he felt able to announce that he would be building a new winery, which he promptly did.
The new winery is the among the most modern and best equipped in Lebanon and his land acquisitions, in addition to his secret purchases, make up 75 hectares of prime vineyard land in and around the Bekaa Valley near the temples of Baalbek.
The company now has sufficient vineyards of its own so that grapes no longer have to be bought from outside growers. Many of his vines lie in lands under the control of Hezbollah but, as the wine is not made there, this seems to pose few problems and indeed many of his pickers are Muslims.
Today Château Ka is one of the largest volume producers in Lebanon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot are grown for the full-flavoured, oak-aged red wines and sauvignon blanc, muscat, chardonnay and viognier produce the fresh, aromatic whites.