Iris Domain

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Iris Domain Btalloun vineyards in autumn
Iris Domain Btalloun Aley vineyards in spring
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Days of Wine &

Nestled among ancient oaks and rustic gardens, Iris Domain winery is an unexpected surprise in the village of Btalloun.

Iris Domain, owned by Elisabet and Sarmad Salibi, is named after the rare and endangered Sofarana Iris, a flower that is native only to Sofar and a handful of mountain villages in Lebanon.

Carefully tended at an elevation between 1,000 and 1,200 meters, the vineyard covers just under 5 hectares of clay loam and limestone terraces.

Iris Domain currently produces just one exceptional wine – a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah aged in oak for 15 months. It’s a dark, rich wine with striking tannins, and production is quite small – approximately 6,000 bottles a year.

This beautiful estate comprises a carefully restored old-stone wine-tasting room that opens onto a natural rural garden, offering an open fire in winter and starry skies in summer.

In addition to various wine-tasting events, Iris Domain often plays host to wine and jazz nights in the summer season.

Iris Domain Btalloun wine tasting

Man of the

Sarmad Salibi is attached to his land and his vines. He grew up in Bhamdoun-Btalloun, surrounded by family vineyards. Later, he moved to California, enjoying his time out in the famous Napa Valley wine region.

During a corporate career between the United States and Austria, Sarmad often returned to his native village, visiting his childhood friend, Naji Boutros of Chateau Belle-Vue in Bhamdoun. He witnessed the alluring sights and smells of winemaking, and after a generous pledge from Boutros of several hundred vines, in 2003 Sarmad started planting. In 2007, the first vintage of Iris Domain was pressed. After ageing in oak barrels, then bottles, this blend of cabernet and merlot hit the market in 2010.

iris domain winery btalloun at night
Iris Domain Btalloun Mount Lebanon wine tasting room old stone cottage
Iris Domain Btalloun vineyards in spring summer

"Passionate

Production at Iris Domain is still minimal at only 6000 bottles per year, distributed locally at the major wine retailers, a selection of premium restaurants and hotels.


 “Small winery owners can be called passionate fools. If the project is self-sufficient and financed then it is enough for me; it is something for the soul,” says Salibi.

Vin de

Says Sarmad: “The idea was to preserve the heritage of generations  past, through whose labour of love these terraced vineyards have passed on to our custody; so, when we began resurrecting our family vineyards we did it with one clear mission in mind: to create an unpretentious vineyard, growing high quality grapes for a Lebanese ‘vin de terroir’ of premium caliber.  Interest in this passionate endeavour is growing, and we have become gratefully immersed in a community of discerning wine enthusiasts.”

"We approach wine as appreciators first, explorers second and creators third, and we try to always remember that balance."

Sarmad Salibi

Iris Domain is a winery with an environmental conscience.

“With the exception of the year of planting (2003), we have not used any chemical fertilisers; in fact, last year was the first time ever that we fertilised – with cattle manure & fava bean plants – that we turned into the soil for added humus content. We harvest our own fruit in vineyards that were passed down from my grand father. I used to play & pick fruit in these vineyards as did my grandfather and as do my sons today – which is another reason why we stick to organic agriculture as a principle.”

Saving

Iris Domain pays tribute to the land that offers such magnificent wines, by donating a portion of the sale of each bottle of its wine to re-establish its stunning mascot in its natural habitat in Sofar and other areas of Mount Lebanon.
In 2013, Sarmad Salibi launched a pilot project to reproduce the Iris Sofarana’s tissue culture. The irises that are now growing in the vineyard are the first offspring of that project. His plan is to further grow this project agriculturally versus a laboratory, so that in the future he could donate specimens to each nature preserve on Mount Lebanon, for safeguarding of this collective progeny.

 

iris sofarana at btalloun iris domain winery
iris domain btalloun jazz events
Iris Domain

When & Where

When

 Wine tasting, tours & lunches by appointment – 03 727623

Where

Btalloun

Heather & Sami Eljurdi

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