Did you know there are wineries in Morocco?!
This comes as a surprise to many since it’s a Muslim country. Morocco may forbid public drinking, but alcohol is not hard to come by in restaurants and hotels. Alcohol is not generally available during Islamic festivals such as Ramadan except in some few places aimed at non-Muslims.
It has been producing wine for hundreds of years going back to the Phoenician and Roman eras; with rates of production varying.
In fact, Morocco is one of the largest wine producing Arab countries after Algeria. If you’re planning to go to Morocco, you will be happy to get a taste of that Moroccan wine.
Morocco is divided into five wine regions (The East, Meknès/Fès region, The Northern Plain, Rabat/Casablanca region and El-Jadida region). Within these wine regions, there are 14 areas with DOG status (Designations of Guaranteed Origin).
There are certain areas that are ‘dry’ of wine and some alcoholic beverages. If you’re looking to explore the Moroccan wine there are a few great places you can check out.
Top Vineyards to Visit in Morocco for Wine Tasting
Chateau Roslane, Meknes
Located in Meknes, it has a large wine cellar, 700 hectares of vineyards and attractive gardens filled with blossoms, fountains and seating areas.
If you visit the place, you will see how the grapes are processed and turned into wine in addition to tasting locally made wines. The winery produces many premium wines including ‘Cru’ White and Red.
It also creates a fair-trade wine which benefits the local community. The prestigious estate is the first in Morocco to be permitted to use the Chateau name. It is part of the expansive Les Celliers de Meknes, a large wine company that has vineyards in four different parts of Morocco.
They also offer on-site gourmet dining thus giving you a chance to taste the wine with Moroccan food.
Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chateauroslane/
Domaine Ouled Thaleb, Benslimane
The winery was a leading force in the Moroccan wine-industry revival in the 1990s.
It grows its own grapes onsite and follows organic-farming principles, though the grapes are also sometimes sourced from local vineyards too. The area has a cool temperature that makes the wine have a different taste from the ones produced in Meknes.
It has a signature wine called Ouled Thaled Signature that blends marselan, petit verdot and carmenere grapes to give it a floral, juicy and chocolatey taste. Don’t miss to try it when you visit the place.
It also produces one of the most popular Moroccan wines in the US, the Syrocco label. It is however labeled as Tandem in Morocco.
The winery also produces high quality olives. There’s a restaurant for relaxing and dining with the best wines from the winery.
Domaine du Val d’Argan, Essaouira
If you are a wine connoisseur in Essaouira you should definitely visit this winery. It makes red, white and rose wines sing grapes grown in the lush vineyards that cover over 1500 hectares.
Well known labels from this vineyard are Val d’Argan and Orian Rouge. The winery uses traditional wine-making methods with modern equipment.
There’s a restaurant available that ensures travelers enjoy the amazing Moroccan wines and food. If you wish to stay the night also, this option is also available.
Domaine de la Zouina, Meknes
This beautiful vineyard was created by the French at the start of the 20th century. The estate has 85 hectares of vineyards and an additional 15 hectares of olive groves and other trees.
Wines made here are said to be the best in the country. The estate has worn an award for the best olive oil in the world. If you visit the estate make sure to sample fine wines and oils and dine on tasty cuisine while admiring the beautiful views.
More on Moroccan Wine
Over 75 percent of production is red wine. Rose wines and vin gris account for almost 20 percent and white wine is only around 3 percent. Although most Moroccans do not drink alcohol due to religious prohibitions, it is home to ex- patriots and foreigners from France, England, America, Spain, Germany and Italy who enjoy alcohol.
Wine production in Morocco has boosted greatly its tourism sector and created so many jobs. Due to the rapid growth in Morocco’s tourism industry, the wine industry is going through a rebirth. Marketing for Moroccan wine in abroad has risen to a new level and it’s making re-occurring appearances at dinner parties across the nation.
Moroccan wines popular abroad include a variety of bold red wines; Cabernet Sauvigon, Ksar, Guerrouane and Siraoua.
Wine may not be one of the first things that come to mind when you think of Morocco but wines from this country are greatly respected in the industry.
So what are you waiting for? 🙂 Go grab some proper Moroccan bottle and prepare for an unexpected surprise!