Finding the Science at the Bottom of a Bottle

Equipping a wine laboratory that aims to improve the quality of Lebanese wine and to help take the necessary precautionary measures.

The four researchers Dr. Nancy Nehme, Dr. Youssef El Rayess, Dr. Ziad Rizk and Dr. Chantal Ghanem are conducting a research on the two stages of wine industry: the alcoholic fermentation (AF) and the malolactic fermentation (MLF) in order to draw conclusions that would be beneficial for this sector and the consumers’ health as well. This is scientific research targeted at enhancing the quality of wine making in Lebanon.

Agriculture Scientific Research Institute (LARI)

As per the guidelines of the President Director General of LARI Dr. Michel Aphram and researchers Dr. Ghanem and Dr. Rizk are working on establishing the first public wine laboratory; the first of its kind in Lebanon. Dr. Ghanem explained that the aim of this laboratory is to become a benchmark in this sector with a 20 million dollar turnover. This laboratory will be capable of undergoing all wine related analysis and it will be a research and development wine center. The majority of the laboratory equipment has been purchased, yet the remaining equipment will be purchased in the following stage. Moreover, the laboratory will be inaugurated within a year.

Engineer Abdo Tannoury at LARI will be giving advice and guidance on grape growing. Mr. Tannoury says that vines are subject to various diseases that should be prevented and cured through balanced fertilization and good trimming, and by establishing monitoring centers that give early warnings to prevent diseases and help in taking necessary precautionary measures.

Rizk explains that the importance of this laboratory lies in the fact that it accompanies the wine sector's development in Lebanon, specifically with the rise in the number of wineries in Lebanon to reach around 50. Rizk and Ghanem explain that the laboratory will work on the following issues:

  • Regular analysis according to the requirements of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) which sets specific standards for imported and exported LIBNOR is expected to set forth Lebanese wine standards.
  • Conducting researches in microbiology, chemistry, and cell Researches will tackle proteins that hinder malolactic fermentation and all factors that negatively affect the consumer’s taste. The laboratory aims to improve the quality of Lebanese wine by studying the phenolic compounds evolution in wine during the production phase. These compounds play an important role in the quality of wines and have many beneficial health effects (anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and prevention of Alzheimer and some cancers).
  • Effectively promoting Lebanese wine. Researchers have participated in Macrowine 2016, bringing together wine experts from around the world in South Africa, where they submitted a research paper on the Lebanese wine. They also participated in OENO in Bordeaux in 2015, a conference held every 4 They invited many experts from France (Bordeaux, Toulouse, Bourgogne, Dijon) and Argentina (Mendoza) On the other hand, LARI organizes each year scientific days over two weeks where it showcases the research it has conducted. They have many publications online in international journals and chapter books (six untill now and three under preparation).

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