Gianaclis: The History and Heritage of Gianaclis Wines in Egypt
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
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.