Serge Hochar, 'father of Lebanese wine,' dies at 72

Fri Jan 2, 2015 10:49am EST
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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese wine-maker Serge Hochar, whose Chateau Musar won international acclaim and led the way in popularizing his country's wines overseas, has died, his family said on Friday.

Beirut's Daily Star newspaper said he died in a swimming accident in Mexico on Thursday. He was 72, the newspaper said.

"The father of Lebanese wine and the man behind Chateau Musar recognition worldwide is watching us from the stars," the family said in post on Chateau Musar's Facebook page.

"He always believed in adding life to his years instead of years to his life and that's what he accomplished."

Hochar took over his father Gaston's vineyard in 1959 after studying the wine business in Bordeaux, France. The chateau's reds, especially the 1967 Musar, won international approval and helped put Lebanon's modern-day wine-making on the map.

He was named Decanter magazine's Man of the Year in 1984 for continuing to produce wine during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war, mostly from vineyards in the Bekaa Valley.

(Reporting by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Dominic Evans)