Castel Winery Ethiopia is expanding its farmland with an investment of 10 million Euros to increase production of grapes. The winery currently grows grapevines on 162 hectares of land and produces 1.1 million bottled wine annually both for the local and export market.
“We will be cultivating an additional 70 hectares of land to meet the market demand. After the expansion, we will be able to produce 1.8 million bottles yearly,” said Alemtsehay Bekele, Sales and Marketing Director of Castel Winery.
The additional farmland will be devoted to plant white grapes as white wine is the variety that is highly sought after.
“We export both products, Acacia and Rift Valley wines. We mostly export the Acacia brand to African countries because it doesn’t have a strong taste and it is sweet. But to other countries such as the U.S, Australia and China, we export the Rift Valley wine,” said Alemtsehay.
So far, the winery has exported only 15 percent of its produce to different markets, even though, the plan was to export more.
“Our plan was to export more than that. Because Ethiopia has not been listed as a wine exporting country in many countries, the procedure and paperwork of getting the products registered took a long time. The products had to be approved by institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that was time consuming,” Alemtsehay stated.
She further stated that so far China has been the biggest market for the wines with the U.S market also taking a big share.
Currently, Castel produces nine varieties of wine: Acacia Dry Red, Acacia Medium Sweet Red, Acacia Medium Sweet White, Rift Valley Merlot, Rift Valley Syrah, Rift Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Rift Valley Chardonnay, Medium Sweet Rosé which is a variety that was introduced recently as well as Rift Valley Cuvee Prestige, a variety that is of a higher quality and exclusively bottled for the Sheraton Addis Hotel.