Lebanon 2017 | ECONOMY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Raphael G. Debbane, Chairman, Debbane Family Holding, on the sector.

Raphael G. Debbane

What are some of Debbane Group's core business activities?

We are continuing with our wine production. We started it eight years ago, and it is developing nicely now in 22 countries. We are satisfied with the quality, and the brand has a good reputation. We have now increased our range of products; we had white and red and now we have two rosé, which are successful also. In 2018, we will be producing a line of olive oil. Lebanon has many excellent olive trees and the potential worldwide is important. The Lebanese diaspora is attracted to everything from the terroir, and olive oil is used by the Lebanese in practically everything they eat. So there is potential and quality is the secret in everything and the key to our success. We are now the number-three producer of wine in Lebanon.

In 2012, 70% of your total turnover was from abroad. Is this figure currently the same?

It is close now because the countries we export to are developing, and we are developing here too, so it is not far from what it was. We are in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Algeria, and the UAE. We also have a company in the US that deals with vegetable seeds.