Leleshwa Wine Tour I Everything You Need To Know

Here is everything you need to know about Leleshwa Wine Tour. Leleshwa Vineyard is situated at the Morendat Farm in Naivasha (A Beef Rearing Farm owned by the Kenya Nut Company which also owns Leleshwa.) It is about a 2-hour drive from Nairobi by road and approximately 95 kilometres from the city centre. The tours are held annually between October and December. The tour fully depends on the frequency of bookings.

The breathtaking rows of blooming grapes against the backdrop of Mount Longonot are enough to stop you in your tracks: Rows upon rows of grapevines with grapefruits in different phases of growth. The rows are named according to the year they were planted and the type of wine they produce. The oldest vines here are 24 years old. In some parts of the world, vines can be as old as 100, but the soils in Naivasha have a lot of sodium, so we’ll probably keep them for 50 years.

Image © Leleshwa Wines I Facebook
Image © Leleshwa Wines I Facebook

Leleshwa wine tours allow you to see the winemaking process firsthand. The company is involved in various stages of wine production, including grape planting, grape processing, and wine distribution. The farm educates wine enthusiasts about various grapes, how they’re grown to maximise production, and the harvesting process. The resident viticulturist guides visitors through the vineyards, teaching and answering any vine-related questions. The winemaker leads visitors on an exciting wine-tasting adventure. The farm also raises cattle for beef, and visitors can see how healthy marketable cows are raised.

Image © Leleshwa Wines I Facebook

History of Leleshwa Wine Tour

When most Kenyans think of wine, France and Italy come to mind. This is because the two countries were among the forerunners of modern bottled wine, and they deserve all of the credit. However, 25 years ago, James Farquharson moved from a South African winery where he worked to Naivasha Morendat farm and established the Leleshwa Winery. This went against all advice because the soils and climate of Naivasha were deemed too harsh. The Morendat Farm, Naivasha, in the heart of Africa’s Great Rift Valley is about 1,800 metres above sea level. Temperatures range from 6 to 32 degrees Celsius — the climate is equatorial. This equatorial climate allows each grape to mature and ripen slowly, patiently developing every nuance of its fine fruity taste. Naivasha’s high altitude of 2000 metres preserves the grapes’ delicate flavours.

The name Leleshwa comes from the Leleshwa tree found in abundance around the vineyard. Vineyards cover 4,000 acres, and the vines are watered through irrigation. The winery boasts of being among the best wine producers in the country. The farm now produces between 80,000 to 150,000 bottles of wine annually. The vine trees produce approximately 5 kilograms of grapes per harvest. In 2015, their Sauvignon Blanc (a crowd favourite) won a gold medal in the international Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards. In 2017, the Sauvignon Blanc won another gold award in the same competition, held in South Africa.

Leleshwa Wine Tour

The tour begins at 10:00 am, this means you must account for travel time, especially if you are coming from out of Naivasha town. Wear comfortable shoes, a sun hat, sunglasses, and a warm jacket. All of this is useful as the weather changes from hot and dry during the day to cold in the evening. You want to look stylish in the photos you’ll take in the vineyard. The scarf is not bound by any rules. It is not a long trek, so pack light. The team provides drinking water (about a litre) from your luggage.

Upon arrival, guests are served authentic African tea and snacks to freshen up. After tea, you’re taken through to see the lush vineyard. It is important to eat before wine tasting to avoid getting drunk too quickly. You want to slowly enjoy the experience not quickly stumble through it. The walk will be guided by the winery’s viticulturist. The viticulturist will answer any questions you have about grape planting and harvesting. The vine trees are planted in rows, making it easy to walk between them, and you’ll have great and close views of grapes. The size of the vineyards makes the walk an exciting form of exercise. In addition to the beautiful plants, you’ll have a spectacular view of Mount Longonot. Bring a camera to capture unforgettable moments. You will also go to the beef farm on the farm.

Image © Leleshwa Wines I Facebook

Winemaking Warehouse

You’ll be able to visit the winemaking warehouse after the walk. You get to meet one of the few female winemakers (Emma Nderitu) in a male-dominated field. The winemaker walks you through the winemaking process and explains the differences between producing red and white wine. The tour is ideal for wine enthusiasts because it includes wine tasting. Later, you’ll be treated to delectable three-course meals. A wine and food pairing is always a must on a leleshwa wine tour. The three courses are as follows:

  • For starters, you will have a mushroom and Parmesan salad served with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, paired with the Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc is a pale gold colour and smells of green apples. The crisp freshness made it a great match for the salad.
  • For the main course, you will have some braised Morendat brisket with smashed potatoes in red wine jus. This will be paired with a full-bodied Merlot Chiraz, served from a decanter to properly aerate the wine. The Merlot Chiraz is a deep burgundy colour and tastes spicy, an ideal pairing for the rich beef meal.
  • With a dessert of a biscuit base topped with cream and a passion fruit compote, you will have the Leleshwa Sweet White, which tastes of ripe citrus fruits. Yet another perfect pairing, bringing a close to the lunch.
Image © Leleshwa Wines I Facebook

You might not enjoy the wine and food pairing you try. It’s fine. Wine and food pairing boils down to two factors: knowledge and personal preference. Consider this as part of determining which grapes appeal to your palate.

Leleshwa Wine Brands

The Leleshwa Winery company manufactures high-quality wines that are sold online and in other supermarkets throughout the country. Amazon and Masoko are two of the online stores. You can place your order by emailing info@riftvalleywinery.com, and the company will deliver it to you. The brands include:

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Leleshwa Rosé
  • Merlot Shiraz
  • Sweet Red
  • Leleshwa Sweet White (introduced to the market in December 2017)

As the farm strives to improve the customer experience, the types of wines available on the market may change. For example, in June 2021, the company will release Chenic Blanc wine.

Leleshwa Farm Tour Cost

The Leleshwa Wine Tour is held annually on various dates. The dates vary mostly between October and December. Their tours are every Friday and Saturday. Since the tour depends on the number of bookings, you should email the company through info@riftvalleywinery.com to get information on tour dates. You have to book in advance since they currently do not cater to walk-ins.

The farm charges Ksh 10,500 per person to participate in the tour. First, you book a reservation by emailing your official full name and passport/national identification number to winetours@kenyanuts.com. Once your booking has been confirmed, you can pay the money through Mpesa Till number 480583. After paying, forward the confirmation message to the same email.

The Ksh 10,500 covers an all-light breakfast, a post walkabout 3-course meal paired with bottomless wine.

The tour provides a great opportunity for friends to build stronger relationships, eat and exercise together. You can book as an individual or group of people.

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