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As evening descended Wednesday, the Hippodrome de Beyrouth was packed with visitors and vineyard representatives for the first day of this year's annual Vinifest, Lebanon's foremost wine festival. Though geopolitical clouds gather over the region, Lebanon's wine producers were uniformly focused on expansion, growth and the quality of their product, rather than the country's troubles. Chaoui's optimism was echoed by nearly every other vineyard representative at the three-day festival of wine. Issa Nahas also emphasized the rapid expansion of Lebanon's wine industry since the end of the Civil War in 1990, and especially over the past couple years.The Lebanese wine industry's desire to expand was emphasized by Belgium's presence at the festival.She also noted that China, as an emerging market, has "a lot of potential for Lebanese wines".One the other hand however, she explained that one of Chateau Oumsiyat's goals was to increase the domestic consumption of Lebanese, rather than imported wine.
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