Wine making has been a part of Ethiopian culture for more than a millennium, dating back to the Axumite era. Grapes and wine were already well known in Ethiopia around the first century A.D. when they were first imported through the Red Sea Port of Adulis. Afterwards, Ethiopians started brewing traditional fermented beverages from locally available raw materials to welcome their guests. Ethiopians have been making a local wine called tedj, or Ethiopian mead, a honey wine flavored with an indigenous herb that remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia. This ancient wine-making tradition now coexists with a modern form of winemaking. Ethiopia produces a range of value and premium wines, made from locally grown grapes.
In 1936 a Greek family started the first winery in Ethiopia in Addis Ababa at Lideta, followed by an Italian family who established their winery at Mekanisa. The two ventures were nationalized in 1974 and regrouped as one entity that was named Awash Wine. Since then, Awash Wine has grown to be a household name and one of Ethiopia’s most loved brands – a market leader that is interwoven with the cultural fabric of the society.
In September 2013, 8 Miles LLP, a private equity fund, became the new majority owner of Awash Wine Share Company. Since then, significant investments have been made to upgrade facilities, further improve product quality and diversify its portfolio of products. Today, Awash Wine leads the Ethiopian wine market, constantly growing and with a vision for further expansion.
Currently Awash Wine has four sites – two wineries and a Distribution Centre in Addis Ababa and a 517 ha farm with a 225 ha vineyard located in the Oromia region, Arsi Zone, Merti Wereda.
- Awash is the leading wine company in Ethiopia with strong local brands which are intimately connected to Ethiopia’s heritage
- The company has 4 sites:
- 2 wineries in Lideta and Mekanisa
- 1 Distribution Centre in Addis Ababa
- 1 Farm at Merti Jeju, 517 ha with 225 ha Vineyard
- Wine Market leader (90% volume market share) with 5 brands in the value, mid-range and premium segments
- Launched Dankira, an innovative single serve flavoured wine cocktail, in 2019
- 750 employees (30% women)
- +/- 400 seasonal workers at the farm on equivalent full-time basis