Over the mountains of the Rift Valley, in the majestic Kenya, we can observe women of different ages carry boxes filled with grapes over their heads. This can only mean one thing, it is time for the wine harvest in the only vineyard of the country, which is located over 2000 meters above sea level, amongst the performance of fog that rises over the valley.
With the location of the vineyards and the peculiar climatic conditions in Kenya, the challenges are several, James Farquharson (supervisor) explains us: “ We are practically on the equator, and at great heights. This makes the management of the vineyard growth different from places like South Africa or France”.
This conditions and lack of documentation as well as the wine producing traditions have made James adapt, innovate and work with the resources he has available.
His idea will never be to make a ‘grand cru’ as the French style portrays, but to keep it simple and respect the basics of wine production.
The main objective, without a doubt, has been achieved. Several prestigious chefs of many restaurants in Nairobi begin to evaluate it. Such is the case of Chef Marcus Mitchel at Talisman.
The red,white and rose wine is called Leleshwa.
The main strength of this wine lives precisely in its local character, expresses the owner. The product is not attached to great storages that engrave foreign wines, because of this, they make dignified competitors.
The quality of this wine, can be favorably compared with the proper from Chile or South Africa. Without mentioning that tourists are thrilled by the idea of tasting a product made in the country.
There must be a ten year wait in order to increase the production, from 80,000 bottles, to three million. James will only enjoy every step of the project in Kenya, confident that their vines have much more to give.
Text: AMURA ± Photo: MOTE / DTJ / KENYA WINE