Come celebrate the Taybeh Vinfest this weekend, Feb. 27-28, 2015, in Taybeh, Palestine. The festival will feature local and regional entertainment and art.
By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
The Taybeh Vinfest is a wine festival happening this weekend on 27- 28 February at the new Taybeh Winery in Palestine. It aims to introduce the new Palestinian boutique wines to locals and internationals with a fun filled evening of fine wine, music and food.
The Taybeh Winery is actually a dream come true for Nadim Khoury who was the first to introduce micro-brewing to the Middle East as the co-founder of Taybeh Beer, the Palestinian natural beer brewed since 1994. Nadim believes a vinfest is a great way to encourage people to drink high quality local wines by offering them the “Nadim” brand of Merlot, Cabernet and Syrrah.
“Nadim” in Arabic means “my drinking companion.” Also, the famous Egyptian singer Emkoulthoum (Oum Kalthoum, Umm Kalthoum) sings about Nadim in her song “Al-atlal.”
The family-owned Taybeh Winery had an official opening in November 2014 where Nadim’s son, Canaan, the new Palestinian winemaker had an opportunity to introduce the red wines to the community. The winery guests included locals, business people as well as the diplomatic community. Canaan is a graduate of Harvard University and returned home to Taybeh to create Palestinian wines with a distinctive characteristic in entering the local and international market.
Local grapes from Taybeh and surrounding towns of Aboud and Birzeit were crushed for the first time in the new state of the art Italian equipment in August 2013. Canaan is also experimenting with local Palestinian white grapes crushed August 2014 and will bottle a very delicious Sauvignon Blanc this Spring. The Vinfest is a unique opportunity to launch the new white wine and taste it straight from the tank.
Happening for the first time in the village, the Taybeh Vinfest will promote local musicians including Nazal Zanyed with the Mina Band on Friday night. Mina Band was established in 2009 by Emile Hani and Nazal Zanayed with several Palestinian musicians when they were students in music school in Birzeit.
Mina Band stands for the Mideast and North Africa traditional music the band plays in oriental style. They also play Spanish music and rearranged to create modern fusion music.
Jazz music will be featured on Saturday night with Joseph Dugmaq, who is a Saxophone teacher at Edward Said National Music Conservatory and Mohammed Qutati. The new tradition to be created with Taybeh Vinfest as an annual wine festival in cold weather is based along the thinking of promoting a boutique Palestinian wine with wonderful local music and distinguished art.
The spectacular art works of Nabil Anani and Tayseer Barakat continue to be exhibited at the beautiful lobby of the new Taybeh Golden Hotel www.taybehgoldenhotel.com.
Both are prominent Palestinian artists and instrumental in the founding of the International Academy of Art Palestine teaching talents students contemporary visual arts in Ramallah.
Taybeh hopes the combination of excellent wines, music and art will create a pleasant environment to be enjoyed by all. However, come to Taybeh for a tour even if it’s not for VinFest!
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Palestine Christian Writer, Blogger at St. George Greek Orthodox Church
Maria (Kouremenou) Khoury is the author of Orthodox Christian children's books including Christina Goes to the Holy Land, walking the footsteps of Christ. She is a graduate of Hellenic College (1982), Harvard University (1985) and Boston University (1992) with a doctor of education degree. Born in Tripoli, Greece, she was raised in Denver, Colorado. On Dec 31, 2009 she was included on the top 4 Human Rights Champions list by DC Human Rights Examiner including the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Hilary Clinton.
Maria is the author of Witness in the Holy Land (distributed by www.HolyCrossBookstore.com), a publication reflecting personal experiences living under military occupation with her husband the former Mayor of Taybeh, David Canaan Khoury and three children Elena, Canaan, and Constantine. Her articles have been published world-wide in numerous newspapers and magazines and have been translated to various languages bringing awareness of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Maria Khoury has been the Taybeh Oktoberfest organizer since 2005.She divides her time between her homes in Boston and Taybeh, travels throughout the world promoting the Christina Books and making presentations about the dwindling Christian community in Palestine.She encourages people to stay at the new Taybeh Golden Hotel and experience rural life in Palestine.
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