The weather was perfect for a tour. The blue skies seemed to also be excited for our day in the Leleshwa vineyard, Rift Valley winery.
We met the tour van in the city, everybody has their comfy shoes on as the invite had explained. All unsure of what the day was going to bring for us. The trip to Naivasha is short and sweet. Just when you begin feeling as though you’re getting tired, you’ve arrived. A few minutes from Delamere are the welcoming gates to the vineyard.
We all had to come out of the van to walk through a dip. This is to make sure our shoes are clean and avoid bringing in any hazardous materials into the field. Once inside we are welcomed to delicious snacks and Out of Africa tea. The host, Sales and Marketing manager of Kenya Nut Wairimu Kimani proudly boasts of the source of the tea leaves.
The variants vary from Breakfast blend, Green tea and Tangawizi. The sandwich accompaniments make the perfect snack.
Having drank our morning cup we get back into the van, all excited to see the vineyard.
All about Grape!
The vast open field of vineyard is staggering. The pride of the Leleshwa wine is here. The vines are planted in high altitude to bring a cooling effect to the grapes making them sweet and healthy. The Naivasha weather is best for this fruits as it is very hot and dry in the day and cold and wet in the night.
Leleshwa wine is young wine as they grow the vines for one and a half years before harvest.
The grapes we see are quite young as they will be ready for harvest in late January to early February. However, we were lucky to spot some grapes that were getting the beautiful purple hue.
They have about two harvests per year with one vintage per year.
The biggest challenge that the farmers face once the fruits begin to sweeten is the birds. They therefore place nets on the plan to keep the birds from latching on and feeding on the prime fruits.
One block of vineyard is one hectare. The Leleshwa farm is fast increasing as they are about to add 8 hectare.
Drp irrigation is the process they use to water the plants.
Prize winning wine – Red, White, Rose
After seeing the vineyard we went on to the factory. Here we saw the different ways they make the wine. Once they arrive from the farm, they are thrown into the destemer. They are then put into a wine press that gently squeezes out the juice. Once here different strains of yeast are applied for taste. This must all happen while it is in cool temperatures of 13-15 degrees celcius for 14 days. Eventually this produces white wine.
During this process, the sugar is converted into alcohol. The longer it stays, the less acid it will have.
ALSO READ: Leleshwa Wine New Look Unveiled!
For the red wine, they use high temperatures to quicken the yeast activity. Together with oak chips for taste. After 5 days of fermentation, it is ready!
For the rose wine, after destemming, they red berries are kept in the tank for 4 hours. Once it has reached the right color, it is removed then stored.
Relaxation, food and wine down
After completing the factory tour we are then taken to a beautiful scenery in the farm. From the distance we can see the prestigious cows relaxing in their home. A beautiful setup awaits us where we are served a three course feast including the succulent Morendat beef.
When here we are enlightened about the history of the vineyard. Mr Pius Ngugi, the chairman of Kenya Nut company pushed boundaries by being the first Kenyan to have a vineyard on our soil. And now with the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, Double gold for the Leleshwa Sauvignon Blanc 2017 in toe, he has never regretted it.
We are also lucky enough to be the first to taste the new addition, white sweet Sauvignon Blanc Leleshwa wine.
Having visited the farm, its nowonder that Leleshwa is the prize winning wine for the last 2 years. Time, consistency and quality are the words that resonate with the brand.
The Leleshwa wine, truly makes you feel proud to be Kenyan.