Chateau Ksara leads the way with some of Lebanon’s most sustainable practices

Chateau Ksara, Lebanon’s leading winery and one of the country’s oldest and most respected companies, is pushing forward with some of the country’s most sustainable and climate action initiatives.

The winery has established a set of protocols to ensure sustainable practices that are not only at the core of the Chateau Ksara ethos, but which will also benefit the local community.

The first is a water treatment initiative that has revolutionised their waste-water systems to ensure it is either safely discharged into the sewage system during the wet season or recycled during the dry season, irrigating the 6,300 square meters of gardens at the winery’s Bekaa Valley estate.

“The need arose after it became clear that Lebanon, being in the Mediterranean basin, was at high risk from drought due to the effects of climate change,” explains industrial engineer, Kamil Chaoui, who grew up on the estate and is leading the innovations of Chateau Ksara’s sustainable development department. “It is a particular priority in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon’s main winemaking region, where rampant urbanization in the past 15 years has put extreme pressure on the natural springs that have historically supplied the area. Ksara spring, which used to flow all year long, 20 years ago, is now dry for approximately six months” 

The winery safely disposed of 9,000 cubic meters of waste-water into the municipality system in one year and Chaoui now wants to recycle the water for non-viticultural use from June to November, reducing the reliance on the underground water. “By doing this we hope to set an example to the rest of the communities of the Bekaa,” he said.   

The treatment is fully biological and works by introducing a colony of bacteria into the waste-water that feeds on the winemaking detritus such as sugars, pips, and skins, all of which make the water unsuitable for recycling. 

Furthermore, Château Ksara has also teamed-up with Sicomo, a local waste paper and board recycling company in the Bekaa Valley, to enhance its ‘circular economy’ by using wine corks to create renewable energy.

Sicomo currently uses agricultural waste such as dry vine branches from the pruning season as biomass to generate steam, used in the drying process of recycled paper fibers.

“As a natural product with a high calorific value, the wine cork can be exploited by the plant as raw material.” said Chaoui “Testing has shown that 100 wine corks can produce enough steam to recycle 1 kilogram of paper. We have also pledged to plant native oak trees (Maloul and Sindyan) with every 500 corks collected. The trees will be planted as part of a reforestation plan of 3.5 ha in the West Bekaa near the Barouk Nature Reserve.

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