Hiba Salloum

Who is Hiba?
Hiba is the winemaker of Umami Wine in Lebanon’s West Bekaa Valley.

Why/how did you get into wine? 
… I did not grow up wanting to be a winemaker, my family did not produce wine, so I never thought about working in a cellar. However, while attending my Master degree in Biology, I was invited to a wine tasting course and I really enjoyed my first dizzying experience of incredible wines. The dizzying effect faded the next morning, however, a lasting effect haunted me. In a wink of an eye and just like that, I decided to study winemaking in Bordeaux, where I was tutored by leaders of winemaking.

In the meantime, I was working on several viticulture projects and research, the results were significant and because of that, I was offered my first winemaking job in Rivesaltes in 2007.

I followed my intuition to discover the “terroir” of my lovely Lebanon, where I worked as winemaker and technical manager for several well known wineries. I followed the harvest time to the other part of the world and participated in winemaking in different countries such as Argentina and New Zealand. Throughout my journey of 13 years, I have received international awards and innumerable accolades from all over the world. My personal experience has taught me that the key to success is that a winemaker should have his/her unique fingerprint on the wines he/she produces and that his/her wine should be of a distinctive identity.

I strongly support my dreams and jump with both feet to this adventure to prove that sharing feelings and passion is a must for every winemaker.

Who’s a woman you look up to and why? 
Well, there is not a specific one. I appreciate each woman who has supported and motivated me over the years and who helped me to become the person I am. Every strong and independent woman I’ve met taught me how to stand up for my self. I look up to every woman that have the emotional strength, is able to help people and can see the best in everyone. I believe that wise women can save the world, they can lead the way on many levels, creating a supportive environment in which they can flourish mentally, physically and spiritually.

What’s your superpower? 
Persuasion, positivity and observation