Casablanca- Morocco is the number one wine exporter in the Arab world, based on Reuters’ report. The Kingdom allocates 37 thousand acres of land for the cultivation of grapes and vines used in wine production.
According to the same report, the wine industry provides 10,000 permanent jobs, in addition to seasonal workers hired during the grape-harvesting season
Surprisingly enough, the production and consumption of wine in the Kingdom increased this year despite the succession to power by PJD, an Islamist party.
According to Al hurra news outlet, Abdel Aziz Aftati, a member of parliament belonging to the PJD party, refused to acknowledge any link between the PJD’s succession to power in Morocco and the increase in the consumption and production of wine.
“An influential personality in Morocco, who is backed up by some of the country’s most important politicians, is responsible for the overall production of wine in Morocco,” Aftati was quoted as saying by Alhura.
He also added that “our party (PJD) is against selling wine to Moroccans.” The reason why this matter has not received much governmental attention is, according to Aftati, “because of current priorities the Moroccan government is engrossed in.”
The vineyards are mainly concentrated in Meknes, the same location where Phoenicians and Romans used to cultivate grapes long ago.
The production of wine reached its peak during the French colonization period, wherein the French cultivated varying types of vines to answer the needs of French settlers in Morocco at that time. After Morocco gained its independence, the company, Les Celliers de Meknès, became the country’s biggest producer of wine–controlling a lion’s share of 70% of wine production in Morocco.
Les Celliers de Meknès is owned by a former advisor to King Hassan II and produces a variety of wines with an output of 27 million bottles yearly, which is only a portion of the total number of bottles sold locally and internationally, estimated at 40 million bottles.
Moroccan wine producers seek to join Chile, California and South Africa as of the world’s major producers of wine.
“Consumers in the United States are very attracted to our wines. They are curious about discovering different products. Today, markets such as China and Japan, as well as the traditional markets, which are France, Belgium and the Netherlands, are becoming more and more interested. We are extremely interested in these new markets and I believe that we also have a huge potential to satisfy any future demand,” said Omar Monkachi of Les Celliers de Mekne.
Edited by Nadia Elboubakri
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