Her business was able to sustain and safeguard its continuity despite the exacerbation of the Lebanese crisis only one year after the firm was launched. It was able to do so by facing the challenges with steady steps and solid plans based on openness to foreign markets in order to secure steady income in foreign currencies which made it stay away from the dangerous repercussions dictated by the collapse of the lira in its home country.
Supporting the efforts of Women Leaders Association, this interview sheds light on the activities of the WLA members.
Talking to Leb Economy, Carol Khoury – Founder and Managing Partner of Les Vignes du Marje and member of the Women Leaders Association, shared her views on resilience facing the serious challenges posed by the financial and monetary crisis Lebanon. “No company or institution has been spared from the impacts of the severe crisis that afflicted Lebanon”; Khoury said. “For two years now, Lebanese businesses have been shutting down and leaving the country. At Les Vignes Du Marje we decided to face the crisis and adopt an expansion strategy to foreign markets, counting on the Lebanese expatriates to support their country’s spirits and wine industry.”
According to Khoury, “Les Vignes du Marje succeeded in creating a bridge with the Lebanese expatriates through websites and social media platforms to support Lebanon, its industry and Marjeyoun, the Lebanese town that cradles the vineyards of Les Vignes Du Marje.” “The Lebanese expatriates, known for their love and loyalty to Lebanon, she said, took the initiative to support the firm and buy its products from Lebanon.”
Khoury highlighted: “This strategy enabled Les Vignes du Marje to conclude agreements with Arab countries, specifically in the UAE – Dubai, where various products are now put on the market. We did also tap the American markets, especially Canada, where we currently have an agent after close cooperation with the Lebanese Embassy in Canada.”
Khoury revealed that “the European markets are the next target of Les Vignes Du Marje, as the Lebanese firm is striving to set foot in Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK during the upcoming couple of months,” adding that Les Vignes Du Marje had a remarkable participation in Expo Dubai 2020 earlier this year where the firm’s wine products were exhibited, and Le Vin du Marje Rose reaped a mark of 88/100.
Khoury pointed out that “Les Vignes du Marje is endeavoring to support the labor force in Marjeyoun, by making the town’s products including thyme, Kichk, freekeh and olive oil accessible to Lebanese expatriates on websites and social media platforms. The firm succeeded in selling the town’s production and securing income in foreign currency for a large segment of Marjayoun residents.”
Not only Les Vignes du Marje expanded into foreign markets, but it has also expanded locally during the crisis by establishing a winery with a unique design, which will be announced next July, in addition to its own wine-tasting restaurant.
Talking about the beginnings of the business, Carol Khoury said that the brand was launched in 2018, noting that wine growing in Marjeyoun only dates back to 2010.
Les Vignes Du Marje offers today “a wide variety of Red, white, and Rose wine products, namely: Le Vin Du Marje, Le Rouge Du Marje (92pts APVSA NEWYORK 2020), Couvent De M (Red chateau winner of coup de Coeur Award in 2019).
In addition to wine products, Les Vignes du Marje offers Arak (Arak du Marje) and Limoncello (Limoncello- Jdeida Rocks) along with a full collection of local products including thyme, Kichk, Frikeh, honey, olive oil and soon Vodka and Gin.
Talking about competition in the industry, Khoury said it is good, as everyone competes to offer the best products at the best prices”, adding that “as a small enterprise, Les Vignes Du Marje, does not have competitive edge in terms of prices, as bottles, corks and other necessary accessories are all imported. Yet, the brand has been able to convince consumers with its high quality.”
Khoury called on the government to “help industrialists import raw materials for wineries, and open up to foreign markets by taking export-facilitating measures. This would ensure the viability of the Lebanese firms, maintain job opportunities and activate the Economy”.
She also stressed on “the necessity of adopting the customs dollar price that does not constitute a heavy burden on industrialists and enables the wine sector to continue, as it constitutes one of the bright faces of Lebanon.”
She revealed that “the firm’s future plans consist on further expanding into foreign markets, and raising high the name of the Lebanese industry through its brand by competing with international products, following in the footsteps of many Lebanese industrialists who promoted the “Made in Lebanon” motto in many countries across the world.
The Arabic article is found at: https://www.lebeconomy.com/178348/
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