Winemaking in Namibia

Winemaking in Namibia is such a small business, you can actually count the families involved in it on one hand. Wait, did the Wine Rambler just say "Namibia"? Yes, he did. "What you see in front of you is a wine from a country you will perhaps just associate with arid Africa, whereas historians and Germans amongst you may be reminded of the German colony "Deutsch-Südwestafrika" (German South West Africa). There is a reason I mention this, as it were German priests who brought vines to Namibia, and the people behind Kristall Kellerei, who, indirectly, brought this wine to me, also seem to have German roots".

The Kristall Kellerei is one of presently three wineries in Namibia. Although the first vines were planted in 1990 by Family Kluge, the beginnings of wine making in Namibia lie much further back in the past. The winery is situated along the Omaruru river, about 4km outside the quaint town of Omaruru and just below the Omaruru Kuppe. During the German colonial times a heliograph station relayed messages between Swakopmund and Windhoek from atop this hill. During the 1890’s some catholic brothers from Germany established a vineyard at the mission situated now in Klein Windhoek. The variety that they planted then was the Riesling, and although they made a very fine Brandy (locally nicknamed “Katholischer”), their wines did not enjoy such a good reputation. The wine making and brandy distilling was stopped when the last cellar master, Brother Morgenschweiss passed away in 1978.