5 MIN­UTES WITH… Ron­ald Hochar

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This Oc­to­ber, Chateau Musar cel­e­brated its 85th an­niver­sary at Palais Msar; also hon­or­ing their wine­maker Serge Hochar, who trans­formed his fa­ther’s win­ery in 1959, who passed away last year. LT sat down over a glass with his brother and Pres­i­dent Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Ron­ald to find out more about the Le­banese win­ery’s her­itage

WHAT DOES WINE­MAK­ING MEAN TO YOU?

When you plant vines to be­come grapes, it needs seven years to reach full ma­tu­rity. To be­come a Chateau Musar it needs seven more, to reach per­fec­tion it’s another seven. That’s 21 years… so you should be se­ri­ously op­ti­mistic at the min­i­mum. Mak­ing wine is a mat­ter of faith. It means we be­lieve in this coun­try.

TELL US HOW THE MUSAR JE­UNE WINES CAME ABOUT.

My brother [Serge] was the wine­maker, and my role was to find the best way to make our wine world­wide. He was a ge­nius. He took a philo­soph­i­cal ap­proach to wine­mak­ing; it was more than just drink­ing to drink. 20 years ago, I told Serge that I felt the mar­ket is chang­ing and the younger gen­er­a­tion is com­ing. The Chateau Musar age group was al­ways 50 plus. Ok, at 21 you don’t have the fi­nesse of taste or the spend­ing power, but at the same time you have to adapt to the young gen­er­a­tion.

WHAT IS THE FU­TURE AIMS FOR CHATEAU MUSAR?

I re­mem­ber my fa­ther telling my brother, and me: “If you want to be a shoe-shiner, be it, but be the best.” This mes­sage was al­ways in our minds. We want to be in as many coun­tries as pos­si­ble and con­tinue ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple on the cul­ture of wine. To make wine and keep it seven years is not fi­nan­cially sound, but wine is not our pocket; it’s our heart. I hope the next gen­er­a­tion will con­tinue this. I said at our event: “This is the wine for the fu­ture. I won’t be here any­more but my wine will speak for me.”

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