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Madagascar

Madagascar (ES)
Madagascar (GB)
Madagascar (F)
Madagáscar (PO)
Madagascar (I)
On the fourth largest island in the world (587,000 km²) off the east coast of Africa, viticulture was founded by Jesuit missionaries at the beginning of the 19th century. The botanist André Michaux (1746-1802) planted the Isabella variety in 1802. In 1886, Americans experimented with cultivation in the southern highlands and other parts of the country. Madagascar was a French colony from 1896 to 1960. From the 1920s onwards, there were significant production quantities. In 1958 the Cistercians founded the Maromby Monastery near Fianarantsoa, which is still dedicated to viticulture today. Since independence, wine production has been mainly by Chilean immigrants. At the beginning of the 1960s, on the initiative of Swiss settlers, members of the Betsileo tribe were motivated to use their experience with rice cultivation on high terraces for winegrowing

The vineyards are located on the highlands of Fianarantsoa south of the capital Antananarivo, as well as Ambaolavo at an altitude between 750 and 1,350 meters above sea level on the geographical elevation of Zimbabwe. The climate is temperate and warm, with not too pronounced dry and rainy seasons. In 2012, the area under vines covered 3,000 hectares with a wine production of 84,000 hectolitres. The vineyards are mainly planted with hybrids. These are the white Couderc Blanc(Couderc 13), Seyval Blanc and Villard Blanc, and the red Chambourcin, Petit Bouschet, Varousset and Villard Noir. Increasingly, however, Vitis vinifera varieties are also being used. The grape harvest takes place here at the end of the tropical rainy season at the end of February. Specialities on Madagascar are lightly pressed vin gris (similar to Weissherbst), as well as aperitif wines flavoured with coconut, pineapple or orange. About 700 winegrowers cultivate up to two hectares each. Well-known producers are Chan Fao Tong, Clos Nomena (mainly Vitis vinifera varieties), Domaine Lovasoa, Domaine Mendrika, Lazan'i Betsileo, Monastère de Maromby (historical Cistercian monastery), Soa Vita and Sociéte Mac et frères.

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