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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Conflict sees rise in wine sales
Wine bottles
Sales of wine from Lebanon are soaring, James Nicholson says
The recent conflict in the Lebanon has led to an upsurge in interest in wine from the region, a County Down wine merchant has said.

James Nicholson has been selling wine from the Beqaa Valley for 20 years. He said sales have gone up significantly in the last month.

"We've noticed our demand has gone up I'm sure about 50 or 60%," he said.

"There is a certain amount of sympathetic purchase, because of the difficulties they find themselves in."

"But the quality has been increasing quite substantially, I mean people haven't been buying it totally out of sympathy.

"This year we're on course to import something like 30,000 bottles."

The Beqaa Valley, which lies east of Beirut, was the scene of heavy bombing during the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

One of Mr Nicholson's suppliers is Sammy Gosan, who, with his brother, runs the Messiah vineyard in the valley.

He said the main problem arising from the violence was the delay in getting his products to market

"The harvest is gearing up and we just basically lost a month or more than a month when we usually ship our wines," he said.

"We had to pray we don't get hit by mistake, but we stayed here and we looked after the wines and the winery, but we could not work, we could not take the chance of working."

Lebanon army starts to move south
17 Aug 06 |  Middle East

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