Unwinding at the end of the day with a glass of Chardonnay or enjoying a meal with the perfect Merlot is one of life’s delights. Lebanon is blessed with a vast choice of wines produced by both well-known brands and exquisite boutique wineries. There are many grape varieties and distinct tasting notes worth discovering.
And yet a trip to the supermarket or even to a wine store will present you with only a small selection of local wines. A mere sip that pales in comparison to what’s actually available out there. Selecting the ideal Lebanese wine for your meal, event or night in can also be a challenge without professional advice.
Launched in October 2016, the 209 Lebanese Wine website gives wine lovers the chance to explore the sensational local wines available in Lebanon.
This is not so much a website but more of an indulgent experience dedicated exclusively to Lebanese wine. The platform, which boasts approximately 35 wine brands and 250 wine-related products, acts as the first Lebanese wine club, suggesting useful pairings and tasting notes for each selection, as well as hosting an insightful wine blog. Best of all, your wine selection will be delivered straight to your door. As Selim Yasmine, founder and managing director, explains: “We want to make Lebanese wine available on every table in Lebanon and abroad, through an omnichannel, unique wine experience.”
Summarizing what the platform offers in a bottle, Selim Yasmine highlights “choice, the only place where consumers can find the widest selection of Lebanese wines; reliability, guaranteed freshness and storage conditions; convenience, delivered straight to you by wine-conscious professionals, hassle-free; guidance, a powerful search engine and filtering criteria allowing visitors to find the ultimate selection that suits their food menu, grape selection, taste and budget; personalization, a unique CRM [Customer Relationship Manager] that will recommend wines based on purchase history, as well as special occasions and gift service; rewards, a fidelity program will be developed at a later stage and will offer special incentives to loyal customers; and exclusive promotions”.
Yasmine is more than a passionate wine lover; he holds the Wine and Spirits Education Trust certification with merit. He’s also a marketing professional with proven insight into various industries. His success in wine is notable, having contributed to the success of Chateau St. Thomas and Domaine Wardy in the local market, where he worked as brand manager of wines and spirits. He also has a hand in Vintage Wine Cellar’s initial success when it opened. Now he is pouring all his expertise into this start-up.
Key advisors are helping him provide this refreshing wine experience for users. These include: Elias Ghanem, a resident mentor at the UK Lebanon Tech Hub accelerator and the chairman and co-founder of Telr (online and mobile payment gateway and cash management services); financial expert Paul Eid; Tatiana Nehme, a specialized transaction and wine lawyer from Nehme & Associates; and his own wife Katia Yasmine, the Managing Director of TRACCS Lebanon PR agency.
It’s too early to share figures on deliveries but Selim Yasmine says you can buy your wine at regular retail price and, for now, standard delivery (48 hours) is completely free, while same day express delivery costs $5.
Available only in Lebanon for the time being, the startup plans to launch a wine truck in 2017 and global expansion will kick off in January 2018 with a focus on Europe, Latin America (especially Brazil) and North America. 209 Lebanese Wine is funded by its co-founders’ investments and a Kafalat loan, and is already registered as an sal.