Le Clos des Baobabs, the first wine produced in Senegal

Le Clos des Baobabs, the first wine produced in Senegal
Le Clos des Baobabs, the first wine produced in Senegal

Making wine in a 95% Muslim country? The idea may seem surprising, but did not slow down François Normant and Philippe Franchois, two French people living in Senegal. After all, there are also Moroccan wines, such as Boulaouane or Gris de Gerrouane. But in Nguékhokh, a small bush village southwest of Dakar, nobody expected to see the vines grow, says the journalist.

It must be said that beyond the cultural question, growing grapes is not easy in a Sahelian country, according to the founders. “The soil is not particularly suitable for viticulture, François Normant notes to the World. But the analyzes that we carried out showed that by adding organic matter we could achieve this.

No frost or fungi, but termites and thieving monkeys

The two French people have been trying to establish their vineyard in Nguékhokh for almost ten years. Of the five imported grape varieties, four could not give suitable fruit, the fault of the heat or hot winds. Only one resisted: Grenache, a Mediterranean red that is the source of many French wines from Languedoc and Provence. “It’s a chance because if he hadn’t stood out, we might have given up on everything“, notes François Normant.

►►► Read also : Beaujolais Nouveau 2021: very mixed reception from wine merchants

If the vines were spared by the fungi (“in France, it’s a plague “, recalls François Normant), they were attacked by termites … and monkeys. But since November 23, the adventure has become reality: the Clos des Baobabs, vintage 2020, will be able to be marketed, having received the agreement of the Senegalese authorities. “The day is very important because after eight years of experimentation, we can finally be visible in wine merchants or in restaurants.“, rejoice the founders at the microphone of RFI. Even if the wine, close to Pinot noir de Bourgogne according to its creators, will initially be sold in limited quantities (1000 bottles per year) and intended for a wealthy clientele: the bottle costs between 24 and 25,000 CFA francs (between 36 and 40 euros).

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Clos des Baobabs wine produced Senegal

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