(MENAFN - Youm7) JDEITA, Lebanon: Cut into the gentle slope climbing up away from the chaos of a crowded Jdeita motorway is a quiet, gentle Bronze-age homestead where a livelihood and a way of living remain in homeostasis.
It hasn't always been that way for Salim Nakad, co-owner of Chateau Nakad, a family-owned winery in the heart of Lebanon's wine region. While business and life remain peaceful in the Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley, sectarian and national tensions continue to haunt the valley.
"We simply would survive," Nakad says of the period during the Lebanese civil war.
"Money was essential for survival; checkpoints at the entrances to our villages were under siege and the only protection was purchased."
The honesty with which Nakad offers his experience of the Lebanese conflict " with itself, with Syria, with Hezbollah, with Israel " is a rare commodity. In a rush to move past its pain, reenergize its citizenry and reclaim its erstwhile "Paris of the Middle East" title, Lebanon and its inhabitants often choose to intentionally ignore the collective memory of their brutal past.
That's not to say that Nakad and his business were strangers to the perils of conflict. During the 1982 Israeli invasion, the winery was unable to protect its distribution lines and the trucks carrying the precious cargo were often commandeered and stolen, despite ransom bribes being paid.
"We continued to operate and distribute, but we were mainly concerned for the safety of our village, which has changed since the conflict," Nakad said.
With a firm grip on the post-war region, Hezbollah and the wineries in Bekaa have a relationship not unlike that of the rest of Lebanon " stable, but tense.
But it seems as though conflict and warriors are in Chateau Nakad's bloodline. Youssef Nakad, the winery's founder, began producing wines in 1923 for French garrisons during Lebanon's struggle under the French mandate after World War I.
The winery's longevity might be attributable not only to its perseverance in the face of struggle, but also to its fierce commitment to quality.
"We may not make or sell as many [wines] as Ksara or Kefraya, but the ones we do, we love," said Nakad.
"The wine is my blood of love."
Love, too, seems to run thick at Chateau Nakad. Despite Beirut's slide into superficiality and Lebanon's constant ghosts from the past, Salim Nakad feels trepidation " but no less love - for his embattled country.
"Lebanon is a place that could be the model for tolerance; we have all types of people here, all living together, all celebrating each other's difference," Nakad said.
"I fear, though, that this won't end up so beautifully."
For now, though, Salim Nakad and his time-tested wines seem to hold up to the rigors of Lebanon, particularly since the main country of export for Nakad is France, where Nakad's sons were educated.
"This country may be headed once again toward conflict," says Nakad, but the immediate future for the winery - and the country - is filled with possibility.