You may like your wine, and you may think you know the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Tempranillo, but do you know that the wine that you drink can be traced back to several thousands of years?
A little known fact to many of us Egyptians is that winemaking dates back 5000 years ago to the time of the pharaohs, where ancient drawings on tombs and other Pharaonic artefacts show the pharaohs pouring wine into vases and enjoying the sumptuous drink. In fact, pharaohs loved their wine so much that many pharaoh kings were found buried with a bottle of Egyptian wine at their side; assuming that it would pave the way for their journey into the afterlife.
The Egyptian wine heritage was further enriched by Ancient Greeks and Romans, who were known to use the fertile Nile valley to plant their vineyards in. Centuries later, the Egyptian wine’s reputation suffered in terms of questionable quality and an unrefined production process.
In 1882, Nestor Gianaclis, a tobacco merchant and entrepreneur from Greece, landed in Alexandria with the ambition of channelling his passion for wine-making into reviving the Egyptian wine industry. Gianaclis spent an estimated eighteen years searching for the perfect soil in Egypt, with the perfect temperature and moisture; and he finally found the perfect spot in the Delta area, just 70km south of Alexandria.
Gianaclis set about building a world-class winery, which went on to earn praise by wine connoisseurs around the world and helped revive the wine culture once loved by the ancient pharaohs.
Things took a turn for the worse when the Gianaclis Company was nationalised in 1966. As with many other nationalised industries, quality suffered considerably over the decades, and the years of effort and ingenuity that Nestor Gianaclis had put into the industry seemed to go to waste. However, things picked up again in 1997 with the privatisation of the winery and its new affiliation with Al Ahram Beverages Company.
When ABC itself was bought up by Heineken International in 2002, it became the company’s goal to improve the Gianaclis brand and globalise it to the international wine market. The main focus is to improve the reputation of Egyptian wine as one of uncompromising and premium quality. So, the company searched ruthlessly for wine experts all over the world to help improve their ingredients. Together, the experts agreed that a fine-quality wine needs trained hands, a healthy soil and a pleasant climate; all of which exist here in Egypt.
Flash-forward years later, when Domaine De Gianaclis was established in 2009. The family brand launched several premium wines using 100% Egyptian noble grapes that are 100% produced and bottled in Egypt. Ayam red, Ayam white, Zaman red, and recently Leila rose were introduced; offering local and refreshing alternatives to the Egyptian wine drinkers. Bringing in international wine experts and using the deftest techniques to refine and improve the wine business, Gianaclis is restoring the glory into Egyptian wine that once inspired Nestor Gianaclis to create this wine empire.
According to Gianaclis, ‘The very highest quality is never the outcome of mere chance.’ Now, with the consultancy of world-renowned wine experts and the use of state-of-the-art technology, Gianaclis has transformed a century-old tradition and one man’s passion into a powerful industry and a competitive regional player.