With the vine’s versatility and humans love for wine, it should come as no surprise that someone out there has attempted to produce wine in almost every part of the world. Add the hard-working nature we East Africans are inherently born with, and you can bet we have had our go at it as well! In fact, we started decades ago…
I’m sure most of you will be quick to point out that “wine” in such regions is normally made from papaya, banana, pineapple and other tropical fruits. That is true; however in this instance I am talking strictly about wine produced from grapes that were, furthermore, locally grown.
Tanzania is leading by sheer volume of production. Dodoma is the prominent wine region where major wine producers such as Tanzania Distillers Ltd (producers of Konyagi), Dodoma Wine Companyand Cetawico Ltd are based.They have given rise to brands such as Dodoma, Imagi, Presidential and Altar Wine.
In Kenya wine is being produced in Naivasha, Yatta Plateau and along the Great Rift Valley Escarpments. The two big names in the trade now are Rift Valley Winery and Kenya Wine Agencies Ltd; with Leleshwa Wines and Yatta Wines respectively.
Last but not least, Uganda produces wine in Lira District (Isabella Wines) and Mbarara, in the south.
It is additionally exciting to note that each producer continues to increase their level of investment in these ventures as they work with other producers from more established wine regions to increase the quality of their wines. In some instances, the governments are also showing interest and helping where ever they can. Give it a couple of years and we’ll be looking at the wine industry in East Africa in a totally different light.