As the third largest wine producer in the world and the second largest beer and soft drinks business in Africa, Castel Group was committed to establishing Castel Winery in Ethiopia. The idea was born during a discussion between the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Mr. Pierre Castel, founder and President of the Castel Group and BGI International.
Right after the agreement in 2007 Castel Group sent the top experts and consultants in the wine business from France to select the most suitable area for a vineyard that could meet Castel Family’s strict three-generations-old quality winemaking standards and criteria. After a thorough investigation by the panel of experts, the town of Ziway, in the Oromia Regional State (located 163 kilometers from the capital Addis Ababa) was selected.
Ziway, situated 1,600 meter above sea level, with sub-humid to semi-arid climate, sandy loam type of soil, a mean annual precipitation of 650 to 700 mm, and an all year average temperature of 25 degrees centigrade was deemed suitable for the grape varieties.
Plantation of all grape varieties imported directly from Bordeaux, France, lasted until the beginning of 2009. While the grapes were maturing in the vineyard, construction of the state-of-the art winery went underway and was completed in less than a year. After six breathtaking years of investment with due commitment, Castel Winery PLC has invested around 540 million Br and generated employment for more than 800 permanent and casual workers. The first wine bottling commenced in January 2014 and sales of its first batch of products started in the aftermath of the inauguration, on March 22, 2014.
Castel winery PLC produces standard wines (Acacia brand) and premium wines (Rift valley and Cuvee prestige brands), targeting both local and foreign markets. Castel winery PLC is indebted to the Ethiopian Government in general and to the Ethiopian Investment Commission in particular for the support provided that ranged from availing land which was previously owned by a public horticulture enterprise, to securing duty free privilege in importing agricultural and winery machinery and equipment, to securing an income tax holiday.