Chateau Musar is regarded as one of the world’s truly iconic wineries.It was established in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, who was inspired by Lebanon’s 6,000-year history of winemaking and his own travels to Bordeaux. The Hochar family, who are of French descent, arrived in Lebanon during the 12th Century as knights of the crusades and have remained there ever since. Their association with wine began in the 1920’s when France was assigned the League of Nations mandate for Syria, which at the time included Lebanon. During this time Gaston Hochar started producing his ‘wines with noblesse’ which were so good that they greatly impressed senior officers in the French army. Later, Major Ronald Barton, of Château Langoa-Barton, who was stationed in Lebanon during World War II, became a great friend of Gaston Hochar, cementing the links between Chateau Musar and Bordeaux that remain to this day.
The family’s connections with wine were further strengthened when Serge Hochar, Gaston’s eldest son decided to study oenology and became a student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux. Having declared to his father “I want to make the wine my way, I want it to be known world-wide – and I want you to quit!” he became Chateau Musar’s winemaker in 1959, Gaston senior having graciously given way.
He then spent 18 years perfecting the blend for Chateau Musar’s Red and was selected as Decanter Magazine’s first ‘Man of the Year’ in 1984 for his dedication to producing superb quality wines during Lebanon’s Civil War (1975-1990). Serge had two sons: Gaston and Marc. Both have studied engineering and worked in the banking sector. Gaston now manages the day-to-day running of the Chateau Musar winery, while Marc manages its commercial aspects.
Like his brother Serge, Ronald Hochar was encouraged to participate at Musar from an early age. Having studied law, Ronald’s contributions on the commercial and logistical fronts remain vital to the business.
Now run by the 3rd generation of the family, Chateau Musar is acknowledged as the benchmark of the region, with a long-established reputation for producing great wines renowned for their complexity, elegance and extraordinary ageing ability, be it their red blends or their whites produced from indigenous grapes. The wines are produced with a non-interventionist philosophy using organically grown grapes from vineyards located at an altitude of 1000 metres in the famed Bekaa Valley.