In the North of the Bekaa, the Lebanese state has had a hard job establishing its authority. Not so long ago, fields of poppies and cannabis were still stretched endlessly (on 16 000 ha).
In the year 2000, farmers from 11 villages in the region created the "Heliopolis Cooperative" thanks to the technical support and grants given by the French department of Oise. The goal was to get organized around a legal and lucrative activity to abandon the cultivation of illicit crops, in this case, replace poppy and cannabis with vines of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Caladoc.
They are today 250 farmers cultivating 240 hectares of vineyards, and have chosen the French method of horizontal alignment to improve the vines productivity. In addition to seeking to protect young people from drugs and insuring decent incomes to over 430 families in 11 villages, the cooperative promotes conviviality by making Muslims and Christians work together.
Today, Fair Trade Lebanon and Terroirs du Liban buy a part of the grape crops to produce "Côteaux les Cèdres" the first wine in Lebanon and the Middle-East to have both Fairtrade and Organic certifications. An exceptional taste, intense and slightly fruity...this wine of a unique character is exported internationally.
This cooperative has the FLO certification, both its grapes and producers are certified "Fairtrade" 100%. Grapes used by Coteaux Heliopolis Cooperative have the organic certification.