By: The Unsettled Team
“Giving up a career in Europe… is very hard; it is all because of how much we love this land and how much Lebanon deserves this.” – Maher Harb in Reuters.
This is a love story. It’s a story born out of Maher Harb’s love for food, wine, and Lebanon. A story of how he fell out of love with a great job as a management consultant, and how he decided his love for this plot of land near Batroun, Lebanon was a deep calling for how to contribute to the world today.
Sept Winery is the living dream of Maher Harb. Maher is a friend of the Unsettled community and Krystel Riachi’s husband (Krystel is an alumna from our very first trip to Bali in 2015 and our Experience Ambassador for our Lebanese adventures).
In many ways, Maher’s story is symbolic of our current contest we are hosting at Unsettled to discover our passion and design our lives for more freedom.
Our Q&A with Sept Winery’s Maher Harb
1. What were you doing before you started the winery?
I used to live in France and while there I worked as a Management Consultant in banks.
2. Almost everyone likes wine, right? How did you become so passionate that you had to start a winery?
It all started with a quest to find more meaning in my life. I was lacking passion and was convinced that each person should be passionate about something. So, I dug deep for a long time. I knew I loved nature and I was always looking for inspiration. And while living in Paris, wine was always a great trigger for inspiration. So after many bottles and a lot of social conversations and conversations with myself, I started seeing the path.
My dad died during the civil war in 1990 and his memory was always alive within me. Any path I would take unconsciously lead me closer to him and to my roots. That’s when I figured out the link between what I thought I owed my dad and my own path, and that was the passion I was looking for.
It just came like a flash of light. I will make wine in the land of my father. When I said that, I knew my life was gonna change, and it did.
3. Looking back at that moment when you left your previous career to start a winery, what were the risks? How did you know that you just had to do this?
This was stronger than any realistic thinking and I became obsessed about it. I didn’t think about the risks. I was determined. The importance of it was bigger than anything else in me and around me. The risks were everything that I was just putting behind me. I was creating a new reality.
4. How has your previous work and life experience helped you in launching and running your own business?
I realized the importance of my previous experience 7 years after I left it. When I launched my winery and brand and realized how well I had done my job using old professional reflexes, I knew my experience as a mathematician, economist, and management professional was still very useful today.
5. Today, which of your wines is your favorite?
All of them. For me they are my babies, creations, and each with its own identity, character, and array of expression.
6. There are a lot of people out there contemplating if they’re in the right job for them. If they should be more passionate about their work. Does passion make a good business?
Passion should be the drive for life. With that I believe any endeavor coupled with hard work and determination will be successful.
7. What’s your advice to someone who’s looking for more meaningful work?
Keep looking until you find it. But don’t look around, look inside (of you).
8. What is your dream for the future of Sept Winery and Lebanese wine?
For Sept, to keep expanding and showing the world a true terroir wine with an honest identity, and helping Lebanese wine become more and more appreciated.