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B for Bacchus

B for Bacchus

By Farrah Berrou
Wine stories from the Fertile Crescent.
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28. Mapping Out Wine's Origins with Dr. Patrick McGovern
Farrah speaks to Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. He's the author of many books including Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture and Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. They discuss the study of wine's origins and when Dr. McGovern's own origins in wine began. Oldest Evidence of Winemaking Discovered at 8,000-Year-Old Village Tapline: Trans-Arabian Pipeline Afikra: How did the Construction of Tapline Alter Life in the Middle East (and the World)? Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
June 29, 2022
27. Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself
After a long hiatus, the podcast returns with the first episode of the long-awaited Season 3. This time, host Farrah Berrou is the interviewee and fellow writer, historian, and Twitter friend, N.A. Mansour, is the interviewer. They discuss the beginnings, the shifts, and the motivations behind the platform and podcast. Some work by N.A Mansour: What Is the Arabesque Kitchen? Instead of Asking “How Are You,” I Ask “What’re You Eating?” When the Non-Muslim World Flattens Me, I Run to Feel Human Again Hazine Blog Season 3 is dedicated to my late, hilarious friend and former colleague, Zeina Mokdad. Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
May 12, 2022
26. LEBANON - Little Bible Land in the Crossfire of History
Farrah shares some updates on Season 3 (returning in October!). Plus, she reads an article from a 1970 issue of National Geographic Magazine titled, "Lebanon, Little Bible Land in the Crossfire of History" by William S. Ellis.  Discuss the episode with listeners here. Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
August 16, 2021
25. LEBANON - Politics can play a part; it doesn’t have to though
Months after its release online, Farrah discusses the documentary Wine and War with Lebanese wine writer, Michael Karam, who was part of the project. The documentary tells the story of Lebanese wine "seen through the lens of war and instability." The Beirut Banyan with Michael Karam #230 Lebanon's 'Wine and War': An interview with filmmakers Mark Johnston and Mark Ryan Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
February 11, 2021
24. LEBANON - The story never stopped, it continued with us
Back in July, Farrah had breakfast with Christiane Issa Nahas of Domaine des Tourelles. They discuss how one of the oldest Lebanese wineries was established by a French engineer, what it was like for her to work with her dad as the eldest and first of the 2nd generation to join the crew, AND who the artisans of Beit Chabeb are.  L'Atelier du Miel Green Glass Initiative of Lebanon Meet the last potter in Beit Shabab - Daily Star Lebanon Fawzi Fakhoury, the last potter of Beit Chabeb - L'Orient Le Jour VIDEO of Fawzi with L'Orient Le Jour Maison de la Vierge des Pauvres ***NOTE*** In the episode, Farrah said Fawzi Fakhoury was in his mid-80s but he is actually in his early 70s. Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
November 30, 2020
23. LEVANT - Arak & mountains are like salt & pepper
Over Zoom, Farrah speaks to Joseph and Marwan El Asmar about arak. Joseph, calling in from South Lebanon's Jezzine, is the author of The Milk of Lions, a book about the history of alcohol in the Middle East. Meanwhile, his son Marwan is based in NYC and continues his father's research on arak now that the book has been published.  The second half of the episode includes snippets from listeners across the world as they share their thoughts, memories, and tips on the aniseed-flavored drink of the Levant.  A Brief History of Alcohol Ancient Egypt’s Toxic Makeup Fought Infection, Researchers Say Jabir Ibn Hayyan Maria the Jewess Cleopatra: The ancient alchemist who quested for gold Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
November 04, 2020
22. LEVANT - The Abbasids love their glitter
In this episode, Farrah chats with Joumana Medlej, a French-Lebanese artist based in London. They discuss Joumana's book, Inks & Paints of the Middle East, and whether or not she came across wine/grapes as an ingredient for such things. Joumana’s Illustrated Books Annals of the Caliph’s Kitchens by Nawal Nasrallah Folio from the Blue Qur’an Viticulture Copper Alternatives Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours Subscribe B for Bacchus on Patreon
October 21, 2020
21. LEBANON - Only archeology can give us the right answers
After exactly one year since the launch of the podcast, we're back with Season 2! For the first episode, Farrah speaks to Dr. Helene Sader from the American University of Beirut about the Tell el Burak Archeological Project and the Phoenician wine press discovered there. Some references: 2,600-year-old wine 'factory' unearthed in Lebanon by Tom Metcalfe, National Geographic The article in Antiquity The Daily Star article about Emir Maurice Chehab & Olga Chaiban by Peter Speetjens A Heritage to Restore by Kerry Abbott, Aramco World Support B for Bacchus on Patreon
October 07, 2020
Season Two Coming Soon
A quick update from Farrah on the status of the podcast, Patreon, and the upcoming Season Two. Translation of "Li Beirut" taken from Why must every Lebanese generation endure violent chaos—and its aftermath? by Rania Abouzeid
September 04, 2020
BEIRUT BLASTS - Conversation with Who Run the World
On Tuesday, an explosion of 2750 TONS of ammonium nitrate shattered the entire country (and neighboring ones). Rhea, Marilyn, and Farrah had planned this crossover episode before the tragedy. Instead of rescheduling, they decided to talk about where they're heads are at 36 hours after the blasts. To donate: Lebanese Red Cross Impact Lebanon Arcenciel Offre Joie More here.
August 08, 2020
20. JUST A DROP - The Lost Glass and Cigarette
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. Once again, Farrah went a little over the 10-minute mark for this one. After stumbling upon 1924's lost silent film "WINE," Farrah investigated if there are any wine films from this side of the world and she visited Abboudi Abou Jaoude for some help. This is what she discovered. Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever Who was the original It girl? ABBOUDI ABOU JAOUDÉ AND THE FORGOTTEN ERA OF ARAB CINEMA 1955's "A Glass and a Cigarette" - dubbed in Russian Blogpost on Smash-Up & A Glass and a Cigarette ‘Made in Egypt?’ Egyptian films seen as knock-offs of Western productions Translation of the clip of Azza's dialogue: "You made her go back to alcohol. Don't forget that Hoda was an artist. Don't forget that she was the light of the stage. The day she married you, she was the most famous woman in Egypt. Why would she give all that up to live between 4 walls? Because she loves you." Support B for Bacchus on Patreon
June 29, 2020
19. JUST A DROP - The Middle Yeast
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. This one's about the microbe that gives us so many of our favorite foods & drinks: Yeast. Farrah talks about the fermentation process and the significance of yeast in winemaking.  Yeast Fermentation and the Making of Beer Synthetic Yeast & Designer Yeast Jancis Robinson's Take on Yeast Forbes: Secret Life of Yeast The Science of Winemaking Yeasts Watch COOKED on NETFLIX Support B for Bacchus on Patreon
June 01, 2020
18. JUST A DROP - Wine of the Bean
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. Disclaimer - this one’s a little over 10 minutes but it’s worth it! In this short episode, Farrah goes over the origins of coffee and why it was called “the wine of the Arabs.” Support B for Bacchus on Patreon References: Hammam Radio Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1991, Harlan Walker Paradise Dictionary - Dictionary of English words of Arabic etymology part II- Mohannad Al Fallouji, PhD Coffee and Qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East, Ralph S. Hattox Port of Mokha coffee + Serious Jolt on Kerning Cultures Coffee's Mysterious Origins How Coffee Went from a Mystical Sacrament to an Everyday Drink The Etymology of "Coffee": The Dark Brew, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Alan S. Kaye All about Coffee, William Harrison Ukers Coffee as a Social Drug, Steven Topik
May 14, 2020
17. JUST A DROP - Corona Borealis
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. Back with another short episode this week on the story of Bacchus' wife, Ariadne, and the Corona Borealis. Support B for Bacchus on Patreon
April 23, 2020
16. LEBANON - For people to try your product, you have to give them a reason
RECORDED BEFORE CORONAVIRUS. Farrah speaks to Joe Saade of Terre Joie, the home of vineyards that sit on the vertex of 3 tectonic plates in the Bekaa Valley. From Saddam Hussein to Amal Clooney, this episode is jam-packed with info on what makes the wines of Lebanon so special and what needs to be done so people all around the world know that. Joe's blog Michel Basbous
April 10, 2020
15. JUST A DROP - The Levant Fault System
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. The Levant Fault System, or the Dead Sea Transform, is a network of fault lines that lie under and through Lebanon. The 3 main ones have caused catastrophic earthquakes in the past but they also gave Lebanon rich topography and soils great for grape-growing. Farrah talks about it all in under 8 minutes so make sure to listen to last week's episode to know the background on Lebanon's seismology studies.  Sources: "The historical earthquakes of Syria: an analysis of large and moderate earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D.," Sbeinati, Darawcheh, and Mouty "Short notice on earthquake hazard in Lebanon," Ata Elias (many of his publications were helpful in this research) "Active thrusting offshore Mount Lebanon: Source of the tsunamigenic A.D. 551 Beirut-Tripoli earthquake," multiple authors The Geology of Lebanon, C.D. Walley Lebanon's National Center for Geophysics
March 26, 2020
14. LEBANON - Competition pushes you to pay attention to what you’re producing
RECORDED BEFORE CORONAVIRUS. Elie Maamari, export manager of Chateau Ksara, Lebanon’s oldest and largest winery, talks to Farrah about his 40-year career in wine. From winemaker to pushing Ksara wines abroad, they discuss making wine during the war, opportunities in the market, and memories of the Ksara Observatory. WSJ: A Winery Survives in Lebanon Ksara Observatory Records Nikula Shahin Weather Station Books - Jesuit Contribution to Science: A History by Augustin Udias - Searching the Heavens and the Earth: the History of Jesuit Observatories by Augustin Udias - Mapping Empires: Colonial Cartographies of Land and Sea: 7th International Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 2018
March 18, 2020
13. JUST A DROP - Obeidy vs. Merwah
JUST A DROP: Less than 10 minutes about a wine topic, some news, and updates. Obeidy (also spelled Obaideh, Obeideh, Obeidi - you get the point) and Merwah are two indigenous white grapes of Lebanon but how do they differ? Farrah breaks it down in a short clip. Phylloxera makes a cameo too.
March 05, 2020
12. LEBANON - People flooded to Baalbeck because of water
Farrah talks to Alia Fares, a German-Lebanese archaeologist & tour guide who’s very, very familiar with the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site of Baalbeck, home to the Temple of Bacchus. Alia breaks down the architecture and historical significance of the temple complex and the city itself. German Archeological Institute The Myth of the Megalith - The New Yorker Kerning Cultures: Collateral Damage A Better Beirut with Alia Fares
February 28, 2020
11. BONUS - Don’t leave me far from Al Ferzol
We're back with Alex Rowell again for a bonus clip on Abu Nuwas' work and whether or not he ever wrote about Lebanon. In this short episode, we talk about Al Ferzol, the Mu'allaqat, and how wine descriptors have evolved.  
February 20, 2020
10. LEVANT - Wine has always been a part of this
Our first episode of 2020 is with Alex Rowell, author of Vintage Humor: The Islamic Wine Poetry of Abu Nuwas. Farrah talks to Alex about who Abu Nuwas was and what his poetry meant to Arabic literature, Islam, and wine. Don't miss the announcements at the end. Encyclopedia Britannica: Arabic Literature The Trip Podcast
February 11, 2020
9. LEBANON - Through resilience, through believing, in the end we can persist
SPECIAL NYE RELEASE: Today marks the 5th anniversary of Serge Hochar’s passing. This episode is dedicated to the wine legend. Farrah speaks to his son, Marc Hochar, about the philosophy of Chateau Musar and what it means to believe. GQ: A Wine Worth Fighting For Decanter: Remembering Serge NYTimes: Eric Asimov on Chateau Musar
December 31, 2019
8. PALESTINE - Use what you have in your own country, in your own lands
For a special Christmas release, B for Bacchus leaves Lebanon for the first time and talks to Fadi Batarseh of Cremisan, a West Bank winery near Bethlehem. Farrah asks Fadi about his thesis on the area’s indigenous grapes and what it’s like to be part of the first winery in Palestine. Grapevine training & pruning, illustrated Haaretz 2014 article: Italy’s Vintners to the Rescue of Cremisan Monks SommSelect’s Master Sommelier, Ian Cauble, tries Cremisan wines
December 25, 2019
7. LEBANON - Siblings Part 2: Be proud of your local production
Part 2 of 2 episodes where Farrah talks to brother-sister duos from two Bekaa Valley wineries. In both episodes/wineries, the older sister handles marketing & sales while the younger brother is in charge of winemaking. They've got a lot in common but the main similarity for both teams is that they came back to Lebanon for one thing: to build a winery together. Part 2 features Eddy & Eva Naim of Chateau Qanafar.
December 24, 2019
6. LEBANON - Siblings Part 1: We're the transition between the bottle and the vines
Part 1 of 2 episodes where Farrah talks to brother-sister duos from two Bekaa Valley wineries. In both episodes/wineries, the older sister handles marketing & sales while the younger brother is in charge of winemaking. They've got a lot in common but the main similarity for both teams is that they came back to Lebanon for one thing: to build a winery together. Part 1 features Peter & Aida Skaff of Reserve Ammiq.
December 19, 2019
5. LEBANON - To-Do Lists and Arak at 3pm
A special 3-in-1 this time around: Thouraya Karam of Karam Wines, Joanna Gerges of Chateau Cana, and Andrea Geara of Aurora Winery. Each of these three young women represents a family-run winery in a different region of Lebanon and they are each important members of their wineries' 2nd generation. Over a bottle of Karam's Arcenciel rosé, the ladies share what all of that means.  A for Arak by Oliver Weinfeld Mashrou' Leila Tracks: Inni Mnih Marrikh - Live at AUB Assembly Hall Radio Romance Cavalry
December 02, 2019
4. LEBANON - Why can't we dream?
Maher Harb, the winemaker at the young Sept Winery in the small Batroun village of Nahla, is the only biodynamic winemaker in Lebanon. Farrah talks to him to find out what that means and what it took to start Sept, a project that's a tribute to his late father.  Sept Winery Sept on Instagram
November 20, 2019
3. LEBANON - We need to make a much bigger cake
Farrah talks to Hady Kahale, wine consultant, manager of Batroun's Atibaia, and husband of Episode 2's guest, Jennifer Massoud. Hady is the co-founder of Ixsir Winery, which is now one of the big names in Lebanon, and he also happens to be the only Lebanese MW candidate. We talk to him about the nature of the wine industry in Lebanon and what still needs to be done for everyone to succeed together.  Read Hady's article in the October issue of Executive Magazine here.
November 05, 2019
2. LEBANON - I was baptized in wine
Farrah sits down with Jennifer Massoud of Atibaia winery in Batroun, a wine region north of Beirut. As one of the smallest, if not THE smallest, boutique wineries in a tiny country, business isn't done like a commercial winery with massive output. Luckily, wine isn't something new to her & her family. Jennifer discusses what came before Atibaia by talking about what was in the pages that led to this new chapter.
October 21, 2019
1. LEBANON - Our savior is the vines
In the very FIRST episode of the B for Bacchus podcast, Farrah talks to Eddie Chami from Couvent Rouge, a winery in the Bekaa Valley's Deir el Ahmar. This particular area is known for its (illegal) fields of cannabis. Eddie talks about the region's gradual transition from cannabis to wine, what Couvent Rouge has been trying to do after so many farmers made the switch, and the potential of Lebanon's neighbors when it comes to wine.  Get tickets to visit Couvent Rouge on Nov 23rd here. 
October 07, 2019
Introducing a podcast about wine in the Levant, Eastern Mediterranean, and the Caucasus. Hosted by Farrah Berrou
September 18, 2019