May 2023: Beirut Until Further Notice
A quick hello before I disappear into the valleys
I’m writing this from my dining room table in Beirut while listening to Joji’s High Hopes on repeat (again). I’ve been back for a little over a month and surprisingly, it still feels right. I say that because I was sure that it would’ve worn off by now, “it” being the high that comes from being hit in the face with all the things I’ve been missing. It’s been a heartsome endeavor, to rediscover my city slowly all while simultaneously feeling like I’ve been here all along.
As my flight back to Beirut got closer last month, I began to toy with the idea of an extra extended “visit” because I didn’t want to miss the incoming waves of expats, the grape and olive harvests, and the end of year holidays. I didn’t want to force myself to be on a timer when I had no idea where else I wanted to be. As of May 1st, with Penny back to napping on her blue table by the window facing the road that leads to the Bekaa, I accepted that as long as no wrenches fell from the sky, I’d be sticking around until the end of 2023. We’ll see if my feelings change as I restart the in-person wine grind during Lebanon’s current state.
As for 2024, la wa2ta.*
Not long after I got here, opportunities began to appear. Nothing solid but a lot of take a few days to think about this type things. I was an underestimated unknown in LA so I have missed being wanted and appreciated for what I do. It shouldn’t be a surprise as my main network is here but I thought I’d be in incognito mode for the first 3 months as I observed and listened to others but Beirut isn’t a place where I can be a spectator on the sidelines. Still, I’d like to take a beat. They feel like tests. I want to avoid making moves out of fear or from a scarcity mindset. Without going into too much detail prematurely, I am taking a few days to think and I am also reassessing which parts of this platform will continue/return and which parts will be paused/shaved down/dropped so I can focus my energy on what counts for you and for me.
*when it’s time
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5 MORE UPDATES YOU SHOULD KNOW
This week, an Earthquake Relief Sticker Pack was launched as a new collab between B for Bacchus (me), Shitty Wine Memes, Ayla Mortada, and Rami Sabban. I designed 2 new stickers for this pack and the proceeds go to Sawa for Development and Aid to support their relief efforts after the February 6th earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
The Bacchus Shop will remain open even if I’m not in the USA but all stickers, cards, or small items are gone. Clothing, hats, and other accessories are still available for purchase and, based on how the next month pans out, a new collection may be dropping later this year.
I’m still offering consulting services to U.S. retailers who want to build their Ancient World category. If anything, with more valuable, on-the-ground access and current updates on the Lebanese wine landscape, now is the best time to get that conversation started about a partnership with me.
I will be going up and down the mountains a lot for the next few months as I pop into wineries across the country. If you’re looking to tag along and learn, let me know. If you’re visiting soon and you want something catered to your group and schedule, I can also be your paid private guide.
Before I left California, I packed +135 copies of Aanab No.4 into envelopes and care packages. All Patreon subscribers or pre-order customers should’ve received their copies by now. If you have not received yours, I can send you a digital copy for free (it is now available for purchase).
I have a very limited number of print copies here in Beirut if you’re interested. They’re for a reduced price of 9USD.
10 LITTLE LINKS
“What if we mapped the strengths passed down, for the things that helped our ancestors survive in a hostile world?” A beautiful piece about the shortcomings of ancestry tests.
- - Anne Helen Petersen contemplates the reasons why we don’t do the most obviously good thing for our mental health: live by our friends.
And then Rebecca Solnit asks the Mother of All Questions.
There’s been a lot of chatter about how natural wine was just a phase but I disagree. I feel it’s been seen as one thing for too long and I love this way of explaining it: natural wine is branching out into its goth phase.
The Arabic Design Archive website is liiiiiive.
Diana Salloum looks at the current state of Lebanese agriculture.
Afikra’s latest Matbakh episode is about making arak with Ramzi Ghosn of Massaya.
I’ve been filling my space with happy flowers and it lifts my mood instantly. Connect with Josephine for local flowers at Gray Gardens and Souk el Tayeb. She also runs a beautiful event space in Geitawi if you’re looking for a desk or a venue.
And finally, tweet of the month:
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
COMING UP NEXT
I may not be posting as regularly for the next month or two as I rearrange my plate of projects but I will send out this monthly dispatch of updates at the very least. Thanks for coming along for yet another recalibration <3