William Swai, a dedicated grape farmer who owns1.5-hectare vineyard near Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital. Swai, along with other grape farmers, is filled with optimism as international markets, including China, open their doors to locally produced wines. This newfound access is expected to propel the growth and success of Tanzania’s wineries.
Development of the wine industry in Tanzania
Tanzania boasts the second-largest wine-producing region in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. The Dodoma wine region, where the entire Tanzanian wine industry thrives, cultivates renowned grape varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the unique Makutupora variety.
Grape growing and wine production in Tanzania expanded when the government established the Dodoma Wine Company in 1969. Nowadays, companies like Alko Vintages Company Limited, led by Archard Kato, have formed strategic partnerships with 15 organized grape farming groups. These groups provide high-quality grapes, while the company ensures expert supervision and management of the vineyards through collaboration with professionals from South Africa and Italy.
Alko Vintages Company Limited’s production manager, Franklin Rutayungulwa, believes that Tanzania’s grape industry will experience tremendous growth in the coming years. The Tanzanian government’s recognition of grapes as a strategic crop is expected to attract more investors to engage in grape farming and wine production. While South Africa boasts hundreds of wineries, Tanzania has only a handful, presenting ample opportunities for expansion.
Four years ago, Alko Vintages Company Limited initiated a partnership with Weihai Huatan Supply Chain Management Company Limited to export Tanzanian wine to China. Acting as the exclusive import agent, Weihai Huatan has successfully introduced Tanzanian wine to the Chinese market, with over 30,000 cases imported to date. Wang Xiangyu, the director general of Weihai Huatan, said that introducing a wider variety of wine choices for Chinese consumers wuold allow African goods to grace their tables of more Chinese consumers..
To further showcase their wine offerings, Alko will present their brands at the upcoming China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo slated for June 29 to July 2. This prestigious event in Changsha, Hunan Province, will provide a platform for Alko and other Tanzanian wineries to expand their sales and reach in the Chinese market. The company eagerly anticipates the positive impact this exposure will have on their growth trajectory.