September 30, 2018 / 11:33 AM / 3 months ago

Raising a glass to three generations of Iraqi winemakers

YEHHDA, Iraq, Sept 30 (Reuters) - For three generations, the Moshi family have been making wine in the basement of their rural home in the village of Yehhda near the Iraqi border with Turkey.

Gorgis Isaac Moshi, 70, is the latest to take charge. He began making red and white wine 60 years ago with his father and grandfather, harvesting and cleaning grapes before crushing them by hand or foot with other members of the family.

Moshi has revolutionised the small-scale operation, buying a press to crush the grapes and starting to sell his wine to his friends and neighbours in his small, remote Christian village in Amadiya district, northern Iraq. He also provides wine for the local churches.

“We started to sell only 10 years ago as we saw demand on the drink we make,” he said. “We sell 500 to 1,000 bottles a year.”

A bottle costs 5,000 Iraqi dinars ($4.20), with the red wine in high demand, he said.

Gorgis’s three sons, who helped him collect the latest harvest, are ready to take over whenever he decides to stop. (Writing by Patrick Johnston in LONDON; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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