Egypt's wine industry, arguably the oldest in the world, is preparing for the day when the country's freedom to consume alcohol might be a thing of the past.
WADI NATRUN: Pharonic vineyard murals. (2 SHOTS)
GVs & SV Modern vineyard. (3 SHOTS)
GV Gianacles vineyard, sign and factory. (2 SHOTS)
SV PULL BACK TO SV INTERIOR Bottles put on to conveyor belt, being capped. (4 SHOTS)
SVs Wine bottles put into crates. (2 SHOTS)
SV EXTERIOR Crates put on truck for distribution.
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Background: Egypt's wine industry, arguably the oldest in the world, is preparing for the day when the country's freedom to consume alcohol might be a thing of the past. Wine and been-making in Egypt date back to the time of the Pharaohs, about 5,000 years ago, and at the desert oasis of Wadi Natrun one can see magnificent murals of ancient Egyptians picking grapes. But religious opposition to alcohol, forbidden by Islam, is gaining momentum in Egypt, which has been traditionally one of the most tolerant of Islamic states. Alcohol has already been banned on the National Airline, 'Egypt Air', and in the Suez Canal cities of Ismailia and Port Said. Consequently they launched a non-alcoholic grape juice line bottled in small brown bottles shaped like bunches of grapes. At the Gianacles plant, which bought its stainless steel fermentation tanks from West Germany in 1980 under a wine-for-equipment barter deal worth more than 20 million dollars, the local stock is being snatched up among western expatriates. Exports could be one way of keeping the plant going if the home market goes dry, but in the event of total prohibition there are already plans ready to convert its production over to grape juice.