Located between Namibia’s national capital - Windhoek - and adventure capital - Swakopmund - is the small artists' community of Omaruru. Turning off the highway, visitors are immediately greeted by twisting knots of wood, several meters high, carved into elephants and giraffes; photographers' galleries; and pleasant, shaded cafes. Omaruru is a unique Namibian town with a not-so-well-kept secret: a picturesque vineyard with internationally renowned wines and spirits.
Kristall Kellerei is tucked away in a grove of tall trees, a few minutes drive from Omaruru town center. The winery was founded in 1990, the first year of Namibian independence, and yielded it’s first bottle of wine five years later. Since 2008, Kristall Kellerei has been owned and operated by Michael and Katrin Weder, both self-taught wine makers.
As you can expect, winegrowing is not the easiest task amidst a landscape known for dryness and extreme fluctuations of heat and cold. The Weders believe, however, that this Namibian environment makes the wine unique: “the grapes are fighters.”
Along with a red blend of Ruby Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tinta Barocca called “The Paradise Flycatcher”, the idyllic 4 hectare vineyard produces a crisp, white Colombard grape, traditionally used in parts of France for distilling of brandies. Kristall Kellerei’s bottled Colombard is light and dry with spicy fruit notes. It’s been a hit with wine lovers the world over: about 10,000 bottles of red and white are produced each year. The grapes are harvested from January-March, and the small staff of locals – including the Weders - completes every aspect of the distilling process by hand.
Kristall Kellerei’s products don’t end with wine. Those looking for something stronger will be pleased to sip on the local spicy nappa ("Namibian grappa") or the prickly-pear schnapps called Matisa (“how are you?” in the local Nama language) derived from the fruits of the cacti on the property.
Kristall Kellerei is open from 8am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday, and on Saturday from 8am to 12:30pm. All winery tours are personally given by Michael or Katrin, and include a walk through the grounds; an in-depth explanation of the growing process; a peek into Namibia’s only wine cellar; and – if you’re lucky – some quality time with the pearl-spotted owl that watches over the place. Tastings of both the wine and spirits are available at the end of the tour, and light lunch of local meats and cheeses can also be prepared with advance request.
For those unable to make the journey to Omaruru, Kristall Kellerei’s products are available at bottle shops (liquor stores) throughout Windhoek and Swakopmund. Their handy 500ml size makes a perfect portable gift.
Contact Kristall Kellerei for more information about the tour, seasonal activities, or to arrange a longer stay at their self-catering accommodation located onsite.