In celebration of the spirit and knowledge of the wise and ancient Pharaohs – El Gouna has brought back Egypt’s millennia-old winemaking tradition at the very highest level of oenological sophistication.
Cairo/Munich, 21st October 2018 (w&p) – When British archaeologist Howard Carter opened Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, he not only found jewellery, statues and coffins. The Briton also discovered 26 wine jugs, still providing information on the winery and winegrower associated with this precious libation. This amazing discovery occurred over 3000 years after the child king took the “sweet wine of House of Aton from Karet” with him into the afterlife – and centuries after Egypt became famous for its wine.
This is not a surprise: A predominantly Muslim society that had renounced the consumption of alcohol, a sandy soil, extreme heat and long droughts had pushed the idea of great Egyptian wine into the territory of dreams. However, Labib Kallas dreamt the dream and brought it back to reality.
Sponsored by Orascom Hotel Management AG, a world-class technical winery was founded 22 kilometres north of Hurghada in El Gouna. At the heart of this magical place stands the “Kouroum of the Nile” winery, under Labib Kallas’s expert management. The winery’s certified organic grapes cover more than 200 hectares, extending 50 kilometres north of Cairo along the hypnotizing desert road towards Alexandria. Alongside, on another mountain in Minia, in Upper Egypt, classic Egyptian Bannati wine grapes are cultivated to produce premium white wine.
“The big challenge was to find suitable grape varieties for our special terroir. We experimented a lot at first, with vines from Italy and France,” says Rania Kallas, the wife of Labib. “Hours, days, months of devoted labour, every effort and every minute under the powerful sun, can be found in our wine. It is strong, full-bodied and unique – just like Egypt.”
Kouroum of the Nile fills four million bottles a year: Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Vermentino and Chardonnay. Though Mr. Kallas could not use traditional oak “Barrique” barrels to add a spicy woodnote to the fine red grape juice –the Egyptian climate would affect the wood and the penetrating air currents would ruin the wine,– he thought to fill the sophisticated steel barrels instead with individual pieces of wood in order to bring precious flavour to the juice. A successful trick: the wines have already won numerous international prizes.
Visitors to the lagoon city of El Gouna have the special privilege of enjoying these choice wines. They are the pride and joy of Jens Freise, Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Orascom Hotel Management: “We are very glad to be able to show our guests a new facet of our culture with these outstanding wines, and very proud to provide continuity for the glorious history of the Egyptian art of winemaking. We plan to continue to work to produce world class wines that showcase their origin and roots with pride.”
Kouroum of the Nile is the recipient of numerous prestigious European prizes, including the Decanter World Wine Awards in London and the Challenge Millésime Bio in Montpellier, France. Egypt is back on the world’s international wine lists. More information about the winery on www.kouroumegypt.com
About El Gouna: “Life as it should be.”
This motto embodies the spirit that guests should expect to experience in El Gouna on the Red Sea. From the overall concept to the last detail, the town is tailored to serve discerning guests who simply want it all: dream beaches, a casual urban lifestyle, great hotels and culinary highlights, a lively nightlife and plenty of opportunities for sports, leisure and shopping. The pride and joy and success story of the Egyptian company Orascom started here, 25 kilometres north of Hurghada, almost 30 years ago, when the entrepreneur Samih Sawiris decided to develop an untouched spot of land located directly on the Red Sea, to turn it into a holiday destination and a new town. Today, El Gouna welcomes its guests with close to ten glorious kilometres of beautiful coastline, 18 hotels and resorts branded with internationally renowned names, almost 2,700 guest rooms, over 100 restaurants and bars, and hundreds of shops and boutiques. Since its foundation, the flourishing town has attracted a community of more than 15,000 permanent residents from all over the world. Vacationers and lovers of beauty, rest and recreation in a luxury environment can experience a city full of life all year round. www.elgouna.com. All offers can be booked with the tour operator FTI.