Mauritius may not be a place where one can find miles of vineyard. The climatic conditions and the topography of the place are not suitable for large-scale cultivation of grapes. Winemakers in the country have to rely on wine coming from other countries to run their businesses. Others prefer to restrict themselves to the distribution of the best wine coming from abroad.
The wine story goes back years. It all started in 1932 when Edward Clark Oxenham started producing wine from imported raisins. Mauritians could then take pleasure in the local wine. But, it was a difficult trade. Owing to the smallness of the market and the island's plantation economy, manufacturing of wine was not an easy task. Tale has it that some did try to plant grapes. The uncertainty of the cyclonic and stormy weather conditions made all their efforts go to waste.

Still the manufacturing con­tinued for mere survival and then slowly began to prosper. The key turning point came in the 1960s. The country's economy started to diversify into export-oriented manufac­turing industry. The trade began to grow, around 1964, with the importation of grape-juice concentrate, of noble vari­eties from various parts of the world. Much later in 1982, the first importing and distribution of Bellingham wine started. The South African wine was followed by Antonin Rodet, the French wine. Now, the country has wine imported from France, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Germany, and beyond.
The case may be that years back some of the locally manufactured wine was not considered the best quality. It was low budget wine, but now one finds that there is an improvement in the quality of wines that are locally manufactured. However, the people at large still like the hard liquor, namely rum and whisky. The market for hard liquor is still strong. In this the question of price cannot be overlooked. But people should be made aware of the different price levels and qualities. They should also know the different types of wines and their specificities.
Still the wine sector in Mauritius is doing well. It has two target markets, the hotels and the population in general. Mauritians are becoming more aware about wine culture and trends. They are keener to drink less but of better quality. A major wine importer of the island states that the western exposure and influence has popularised wine, which was not the situation years back.
Accordingly to sources within the trade sector, the local market is growing with more consumers and on the hotel side with new hotels and more tourists coming, the wine business has a good future.
The wine lovers in Mauritius also have an Association, "Cuisine et Vin". It was started three years back and at present it has Stéphane Lenoir as its President. The members gather every two months for lunch or dinner and have a talk or discussion on wine. It is basically a social gathering of wine suppliers, promoters and anyone interested in wine culture. The whole idea is to share and address the different issues about wine.

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