• The other day when California was hip deep in hot, I participated in a Facebook conversation about the weather. One of my friends made a comment that prompted this post.

    Here is a snippet of the conversation with the names changed. I picked the names out of a list because I can.

     

    Lizzy – “lol…{Alaina}…arent u from Africa?? this is nothing..i live in the valley..its 100 degrees all the time..and im 6 1/2 months preggo…lol being hot and preggo is not the funnest thing”

     

    Alaina – “South Africa is like the Mediterranean of Africa. It’s hot but not this hot and it rains in the summer. I miss the fog. Lol 92 in SF today.”

     

    Alaina’s sister – “It’s funny when people assume, that a continent that’s 2.5 times the size of the United States has the same weather all over it. {Lizzy}, Johannesburg is the same elevation as Denver, which lies at the base of The Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s VERY high up. It’s is also very far south, which makes it very cold, and not very hot. 80 – 85 degrees at the max, and that’s the warmest, and driest part of the country. South Africa is the only place on the African continent where grapes can be grown, which means our climate is closer to that of The Mediterranean, or in your neck of the woods, similar to the climate in Sonoma County.”

     

    I immediately pulled the wine card, and provided a list of various places in Africa that produce wine. I decided this would make a fantastic blog. Soooo… here goes…

    Wine regions of Africa (said in a booming voice)

     

    fossa(picture of fossas)

    Madagascar

    Home of chameleons, a variety of lemurs, the aye-aye, flying foxes, fossas, tomato frogs, crocodiles, geckos, blue couas, chameleons, tenrec, and the hissing cockroach *icky*

    The island is also home to about 700 wineries mainly located at 2600ft in the Hauts-Plateaux.

    There are two main sub-regions in Madagascar, Fianarantsoa and Ambalavao.

    – Fianarantsoa

    The wine label with the most prestige is Lazan’i Betsileo, which is put together by a group of ‘vine-framers’. Monks from the Monastery of Maromby produce wine from their estate vineyard, which can be bought at the monastery. Monks often make some of the best wine, beer and liquor (Chartreuse, Benedictine, Chimay, and New Clairvaux to name a few).

    – Ambalavao

    In Ambalavao there is a decidedly French influence, with wines like Coteaux d’Amalavao and Cote de Fianar. These wines are made by Chinese whose lineage dates back to when the French colonized the area at the end of the 19th century.

     

    Morocco

    Going now to the opposite side of Africa, we discover Moroccan wine, also way up there with a 2000ft elevation. Seeing how there are a great number of foreigners from the primary wine drinking countries, the wine business is booming with damn near 50 million bottles in production. With fourteen wine regions it can be a bit daunting. The majority of wine production is from Beni M’Tir and Gerrouane with the other 12 far behind, Safi, Sidi, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Melilla, Meknes, Kenitra, Agadir, Ifni, Boulaouane, Fes, Tetouan and the more famous regions of Tangier, Marrakech, and Casablanca. They even have an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) called “Les Coteaux de l’Atlas” which produces the majority of their higher end wine. Les Celliers de Meknes has two 1er Cru AOC designation wines under the label Chateau Roslane, a red blend of Merlot Syrah and Cabernet (an atypical French blend) and surprisingly a white of the same blend.

     

    Algeria

    Between Morroco and Tunsia lies a large country called Algeria. They have seven wine regions like Tunisia, but they are not AOCs. They are provided by Algeria’s Office National de Commercialisation des Produits Viti-vinicoles ONCV for short. These regions are Medea, Monts du Tessalah, Coteaux de Mascara, Coteaux de Tlemcen, Coteaux du Zaccar, Ain Bessem Bouira and Dahra Hills. The wines here are akin to Australia’s overripe, high alcohol style.

     

    Tunisia

    Next we’ll travel to a region south of the boot (Italy), called Tunisia. They have been making wine since before Jesus, and took it to a whole new level when they got sacked by the French back in 1881. As a result of the Frahnch (said with a funny accent), we now have AOCs there as well. The seven consist of Thibar, Kélibia, Sidi Salem, Grand Cru Mornag, Mornag, Côteaux d’Utique, and Coteau de Tébourba.

     

    Leleshwa

    Kenya

    Just south of Ethiopia is an unexpected region for wine called Rift Valley (6,500ft elevation). With one main contender, Rift Valley Winery launched in 2008 with 10,000 bottles of wine under the label Leleshwa. Two years later, production was nearing 10 times that with hopes for hitting the million-mark soon.

     

    Cheetah_run

    Tanzania

    Home of lions and cheetahs and leopards oh my! Sorry had to, no really… contractual obligations and the like. With over four million wild animals, this place is wicked cool. There is also a wine region called Dodoma that has started catching some acclaim. With two harvests a year (like Kenya), they grow varietals like Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Makutupora, and Cabernet Sauvingon.

     

    dodoma

     

    Well I’ve had my say. Africa is not a one country wine producer by any means. Even Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Ethiopia produce wine. Granted, the wine industry in these countries is perhaps not of the refinement that you will find elsewhere, but they should by no means be discounted.

    Now after many hours at this infernal computer I shall get back to my homework… on this infernal computer.   *sigh*