the deep-rooted city that embraced history since the beginning of
time has been incessantly vibrant with life, advanced social life
where all different industries and trade flourished. It is the city
of elegant life, tasty food and developed drinks that attracted
our beloved father, the late Habib Cortas, from Zahle, Lebanon where
our grandfather had established the industry of beverages and liquor
since 1881. He founded a liquor company with the late Toufiq Wardeh.
We, the Cortas family, have been in the liquor industry for four
generations, passed from father to son. We developed the industry
in Aleppo, rich in vineyards and grapevines. Thus, Cortas is name
of a family well-established in this occupation for four generations.
As Aleppo was known to be on the Silk Road, it had also been known
since the third millennium B.C., that is five thousand years ago,
to be on the Wine Road. The two French writers and archeological
researchers, Brigitte Lion and Cecile Michel, alluded to this fact
in their book, Banquets et Fetes au Proche-Orient Ancien.
trade in pottery and containers in particular was widespread as
these were essential for the transport of materials to faraway places,
such as wine which was transported from the northern regions in
large jars since the third millennium B.C.
In the second millennium B.C. it was transported from karkamish
(Jarablos) and from Aleppo whose port was the city of Imar on the
Euphrates that is Maskaneh. This route down to the shores of Basra
was known as the wine road. The jars were sealed with impermeable
cloth or skin coated with mud, with the seal of the supplier impressed
on it so as to identify the sender and the date of despatch.
We, the Cortas family, produced here in Aleppo the various alcoholic
beverages, such as wine, Arak, liqueurs, mousseux, vermouth and
other alimentary beverages. And we have received a number of prizes,
some foreign and others in Syria.
We list hereinafter the basic alcoholic products that we have been
famous for over the years:
We produce Cortas Special Arak which is prepared from the best kinds
of white grapes grown in Jabal Sweida, and excellent Syrian aniseed.
Alcohol content is 51.5. The bottle is packed in an elegant blue
The word "Dinan" is the plural of "Dann" which
means an earthen wine jar. This type of arak is also of quality
and is made from the grapes grown in the districts of Aleepo, Homs
and Hama plus aniseed. The degree of alcohol is 51.5.
In producing Arak, we follow the traditional way of putting the
aniseed with the arak during the re-distillation, and not the aniseed
oil. This gives the product freshness.
2- Wine: The following brands
was so named after the huge archeological site near Aleppo which
is the Cathedral of St. Simeon the Stylite or St. Simeon Citadel.
At one time this region was rich with vineyards. However, the grapes
used in making this wine are very special and they come from Sweida
Region which is 1500-1600 meters above sea level. The grapes grow
unirrigated and are exposed to sunshine most of the days of the
year, and the soil is basaltic resulting from volcanic lava. Grapes
contain healthy materials such as iron and phosphorus. This wine
comes in three types: Red, White and Rosé.
Wine has a distinguished color and flavor unlike many kinds of wine
in the world. The crop from which it is made is very special: it
is Syrian, grown on Syrian soil. It is different from similar red
wines, and its flavor is close to the wine of Merlot type.
Wine is also of distinguished color and flavor of Sweida district
which are seldom found in other white wines in the world. The grape
from which it is made is called "Sallti" and it is of
even better taste than Chardonnay.
Wine is made of red grapes, but it is prepared in the method of
is made of the grapes of Aleppo, Homs and Hama regions which have
been always famous for the quality of their soil and the suitable
rainy days and shiny days that give the grapes their basic ingredients,
thus giving Nectar wine its particular taste.
The word "Nectar" in Greek mythology means the drink of
the gods. The region had plenty of wine and oil presses. To this
day there is an ancient wine press in Bara; above the opening where
the grapes slide for squeezing there are two verses of Greek poetry
that translate as follows: "You see the drink that resembles
nectar perfumed with the blessings of Bakhos (God of wine) produced
by the grapevines scorched by the hot sunshine".
This brand is produced in three types: Red, white and rosé.
It is made of black grapes having the shape of olives. They derive
their peculiar taste from the nourishment of Syrian soil the central
region of Homs and Hama. This wine is to be taken with food, especially
with red meat, poultry and cheese, at a 16 degrees C. temperature.
It is made of white grapes round in shape and having the color of
sunshine in the morning. Their taste is a mixture of sweet and sour,
and when fermented a wine is produced that has wonderful color,
taste and transparency. To be taken with food, specially with white
meat and cheese at a temperature of 10-11 degrees C.
It is made of the same grapes as red wine, only it is prepared in
the method of white wine. To be taken with food, especially with
poultry at a temperature of 10-11 degrees C.
It is a sweet wine with a degree of alcohol reaching 16-18. It has
the special vermouth flavor whose herbs are imported from the city
of Torino in Italy, famous for the preparation of such herbs.
4- Nectar Mousseux:
It resembles champagne; made of St. Simeon white wine with carbon
gas added. It has a particular taste.
5- Dinan Liqueurs:
A collection of excellent liqueurs, in particular:
Cherry Liqueur - prepared from black cherries that come from the
town of Ariha near Aleppo, for which it is known.
Cortassin Liqueur - a specialty of Cortas Family. Prepared from
the distillation of grains and herbs exceeding eleven in number
to produce this digestive drink.
Other brands include: Curacao, Cocoa, and Irish Cream, Mint, Bananas
6- Week-end Brandy:
It is made by distilling white wine and re-distilling it without
adding aniseed. Thus, it resembles French cognac. Grade of alcohol
Therefore, we are very proud in making such liquids which maintain our legacy in foods and beverages.