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Awash Winery launches USD 2 mln expansion project
Executive of Awash Wine briefing reporters

Awash Winery launches USD 2 mln expansion project

Unveils new products

The pioneer wine maker in Ethiopia, Awash Wine SC, has completed an expansion project it undertook at its wine plant in Addis Ababa at a cost of two million dollars.

Constructed at the Mekanissa winery plant the new production line includes bottle washers, fillers and cockers as well as capsule sealer and dryer. In a statement, the company said the new production line is highly efficient and reduces waste in the wine making process and is operated by a local experienced and skilled labor force.

At a press briefing held on Tuesday at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, Neil Comerford, commercial director, said that the state-of-the-art machines were bought from Italy, Germany and China adding that the new production line would enable the winery’s production capacity by three-fold. Comerford said Awash Wine has been investing in its factory and brands. He stated that the company is also investing the community in the provision of healthcare, food and clean drinking water sectors.

Established in 1956, Awash Wine owns two winery plants in Mekanissa and Lideta area and a vineyard covering 517 hectares of land in the Oromia Regional State, Arsi zone, Merti wereda, located 180km east of Addis Ababa.

Eyob Assamenew, Mekanessa plant manager, said that the state-of-the-art machineries imported from Italy, Germany and China and installed by a Chinese firm enabled the plant to triple its production capacity. According to Eyob, the Mekanissa plant can now bottle 9,000 bottles with 750 ML and 11,000 bottles with 330 ML per hour.

Eyob disclosed that the factory allocated 70 million birr budget for further expansion work to be undertaken in the current budget year. He said that Awash Wine is eyeing the export market. “The factory used to export its products but disrupted the export market in the past few years. Now we are undertaking a study that would enable us to start exporting our products,” he said.

According to Eyob, since the factory was privatized in 2013 it has undertaken expansion projects in its vineyard, and winery plants that enabled it to boost the production capacity from six million liters to 30 million liters per annum. The factory employs 1,000 workers working in the two production plants and in the vineyard.

During the occasion Awash Wine has unveiled its new products named “Dankira”. The new product is a wine cocktail offering two flavors-strawberry margarita and peach vodka.

Berhan Mengistu, category, Innovation and brand manager, said Dankira is a refreshing wine cocktail with six percent alcohol made from a blend of dried wine and natural fruit flavors. “While we were doing a market research, consumers told us that they were looking for a new smooth product with less alcohol. With this insights product development began.

Available in 330 ML, Dankira is now available in selected outlets such as top butcheries, restaurants and hotels in Addis Ababa and the 330 ML bottle retails for a recommended price of 25-30 birr.

In September 2013, 8 Miles LLP, a private equity fund chaired by Irish musician and philanthropist, Sir Bob Geldof, in partnership with Blue Nile Investments, a company owned by an Ethiopian entrepreneur, Mulugeta Tesfakiros, acquired the Awash Winery for 470 million birr from the Ethiopian government. The company said that since then it has made significant investments to upgrade the facilities and further improve quality.