Castel Wine’s new creation launches this month


A leading French wine maker, Castel Winery will launch its bottled wine this month, on March 22, from its Battu (Zeway) based vineyard.
It is Ethiopia’s first foreign winery since they were nationalized during the Derg regime. The winery has been cultivating four different types of vines since May 2008.
The products, which consist of two major ranges, will be available on the market starting from April.
According to Alemtsehay Bekele, sales and marketing manager of Castel Winery, the two product lines that are going to be launched are Rift Valley and Acacia.
The four types of grapes Castel Winery currently grows to produce red and white wines are Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. These varieties are the ones that will make the Rift Valley, Premium and Acacia wines.
“We chose the name Acacia because that is the tree under which our employees rest after work and also because the trees are found in abundance on our farm,” said Alemtsehay.
Both of the lines are made from fresh grapes. Thus the company will only produce a million bottles of wine per year of which 50 percent will be exported and the remaining will be sold locally, according to Alemtsehay.
“We are going to export our wines to China, America, German, Italy, France, neighboring African countries and basically anywhere with a significant number of Ethiopian Diaspora,” says Alemtsehay.
So far Castel invested over 25 million Euros on the factory and vineyard, located on the outskirts of Zeway town, 163km south of Addis Ababa in Oromia regional state.
Out of the 450 hectares given to Castel, the factory and farm rest on a 120 hectare plot of land. Alemtsehay says that the company has ample room for expansion with 300 Hectares of virgin land available.  
In 2011, Castel harvested its grapes for the first time and even produced 250,000 bottles of wine. But instead of entering the market right away, it decided to delay in favor of a full scale harvest.
“We believe in our product completely,” said Alemtsehay. “We delayed entering the market for so long to ensure the best ever quality in our products. Now we have no reservations. The interest in our wine is also high.”
Groupe Castel was founded in 1949 by nine brothers and sisters. Less than a decade later, the Castel family began establishing bottling plants. As the business flourished Groupe Castel conducted a series of acquisitions of globally reputable companies engaged in the wine sector. The Group’s strength was reinforced, when in 1992 it bought Societes des Vins de France, which is France’s second largest winery.  Castel, a sister company of BGI brewery has wine farms in three African countries: Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia.