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The Johnny R.Saade Foundation launches Lebanon’s first wine and vine museum


Under the patronage of Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, Salim Wardy, on Wednesday, May 11th, the Johnny R. Saade Family, known for its legacy in wine making, announced the creation and imminent launching of the Middle East’s first wine museum at Beirut’s Bristol Hotel.

With its future location at the heart of the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon’s premier Museum of Vine and Wine, is scheduled to open in 2013 and reasserts the value of the Levant’s viticulture while further advancing the public’s access to a currently burgeoning field in the region.

As stipulated in its internal code of ethics, the institution’s administrative, financial, and legal matters will be overseen by the Johnny R. Saadé Foundation.
Its progress will be supervised by a team of specially appointed experts in the field, while a designated Board of Trustees (Association de droit Libanais) oversees all things related to the institution’s management. Board members include local, regional and international experts, namely : Patrick McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum; Jennifer Hughett, a geologist and consultant at Petroclays; Stéphane Derenoncourt, a French vigneron and wine consultant ; Grégory Buchakjian, an art historian and photographer currently teaching at ALBA, Lebanon’s Academy of the Arts; Anne-Marie Maïla-Afeiche, the curator of Beirut’s National Museum; Assaad Seif, the coordinator of archaeological research and excavations at Lebanon’s Directorate General of Antiquities; as well as Naji Morcos, Co-Founder and Managing partner of HODEMA hospitality consulting firm.

During his speech, Minister of Culture Salim Wardy highlighted the importance of creating such an institution at both the national and regional levels. He commended the Johnny R. Saadé Foundation’s initiative and called on universities to cultivate a new generation of students, actively engaged in preserving Lebanon’s historical and cultural heritage.
« We live in a region that has witnessed the birth of wine, thereby justifying the initiative to create the first wine museum in the Middle East. Additionally, it will serve to promote our cultural and natural heritage,” said Karim Saade. « Through comprehensive, scientific documentation, we will discover the world of wine, from antiquity to the present day. To this end, we will apply a number of new technologies to help foster better interaction with our public. »

« By our involvement in wine making in Lebanon and Syria, our family though the Foundation has decided to create the first vine and wine Museum in the Middle East which will function in a totally independent and autonomous way” added Sandro Saadé. “This is specifically why a dedicated Board of Trustees, has been appointed to help cater to our goal of becoming a regional reference, featured in the world’s international guides to enable a higher appreciation of our local terroir.»

The conference was followed by a cocktail, to which both local and international journalists have been invited.


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