Jill and Naji
Naji and Jill used to joke that when they moved from London to Bhamdoun in 1999 with their four children, they doubled the population. It wasn’t so far from the truth.
Planting vines and making the valley green again after so many years of neglect seemed to many like idealistic folly. But for Naji and Jill, it was a risk worth taking, especially at a time when greedy developers were eyeing the fertile mountainside so close in proximity to overcrowded Beirut. In April of 2000, Naji and his team put the first new vines in the soil, parallel to ancient stone walls built with the sweat of his ancestors. He vowed this land would remain used for agriculture.
Many growing seasons later, as they watch these original vines and thousands more produce amazing fruit year after year, Naji and Jill compare the process of making great wine to their similar dedication to family life. Just as Chateau Belle-Vue wines reflect the terroirs in which they are raised, their children enter the world as young adults, equipped with the values instilled in them over time—hard work, sacrifice and the satisfaction of helping others.
They couldn’t be more proud.
We were pleased to welcome Diana to our team as the 2006 growing season began. She brings a wealth of experience to the project in all aspects of wine production--a knowledge base she began to develop at an early age in her family vineyards.
Diana's interest in viticulture led her to study in France, where she received her degree in oenology and a Master of Science from et L'Institute Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin in Dijon. Choosing to remain in Europe for her first work experience, Diana spent time at Puligny-Montrachet, at Boccard in Sardinia, and with Jeanjean.
Diana works closely with the vineyard team to ensure that all our fruit has the opportunity to ripen to perfection. She ferments every vintage using only natural yeasts -- just one indication of her technical prowess. Diana’s wines are known by wine afficionados around the world for their elegance and longevity. Her work allows each varietal to display its utmost character within the blends we select.
Diana and her husband have two young boys, destined to be as hard-working as their mother.
Esperanza Geara joined the Belle-Vue team in May 2012. She joined us from Spain with the intention of returning to her Lebanese roots. She had earned a degree in agricultural engineering with a specialty in horticulture and gardening before studying enology at the University of Cadiz. Esperanza then worked as a winemaker in Chile and New Zealand before returning to Spain to work in Ribera del Duero.
Esperanza assumed a variety of roles with Belle-Vue, but found her true calling when she became vineyards manager in the autumn of 2013. In addition to tending the vines, she and her team maintain our olive groves and plant organic fruit and vegetables in our valley to supply the restaurant with locally grown produce. Our guests in the vineyards may enjoy a tour and tasting under her guidance, and for those wine club members who support our charity Christmas hamper sales, Esperanza plays a major role in their organization and development.
In September 2012, family and close friends were treated to a very special event—Esperanza married her childhood sweetheart at our bistro, Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue, in a flamenco-style wedding complete with live music and dancing. Bienvenida Esperanza!