Castel Winery will soon begin exporting bottled wine from its Ethiopian
Castel Winery will soon begin exporting bottled wine from its Ethiopian vineyards, making the French owned company the first to invest in wine production in the country, The Africa Report learnt on Wednesday. The French wine maker had installed 28,430 hectolitre Inox tankers for the production of its wines. The first production, which will be bottled over the next three to six months and expected on the market shortly, afterwards, will be mainly white wine.
Castel has invested around US$ 305 million on both its vineyard and factory in Zeway. According to Olivier Spillbout, a wine maker at the French company, grapes being grown to produce both red and white wines on the 120 hectares of land acquired by the company include Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The French wine maker harvested its first Chardonnay grapes in the first week of November and hopes to begin production around the New Year. Total production from this year’s harvest of grapes is expected to be around 450,000 bottles.
Castel aims to export more than half of its wine. While production time usually takes five years – from planting to harvesting the first vines the Ethiopian climate, according to the French company, has allowed it to cut the production time to three and a half years. Foreign companies in the past few months have invested heavily in the Ethiopian beverage market and bought three state-owned beer companies with over US$ 400 million investment. Currently, one state-owned wine company is producing wine for local consumption.