Wine harvests in the heart of the Caribbean? Yes, specifically in the Ocoa Bay eco-resort, on the country’s southwest region.
This fast-growing resort recently celebrated its seventh French Colombard grape harvest.
The overall harvest has led to a locally-made wine that has surprised many experts for its quality.
“The grape was at its optimum point of ripeness. That is, when sugars and polyphenols were at their best, reaching the perfect balance of sugar and acidity,” said project founder, Gabriel Acevedo.
The Ocoa Bay resort is located in the Bay of Ocoa, some 90 minutes from Santo Domingo, in the country’s southwest region.
“The Bay of Ocoa, is situated in the Francisco Caamaño National Park, where the country’s central mountain region touches the Caribbean Sea. This exceptional location gives us a special microclimate that favors the growth and development of this grape,” said Acevedo.
The main attraction of this innovative tourism project is its nearby vineyard. Historical documents reveal that the first grapes brought to the New World were first planted in this particular region.
Acevedo explained in a recent interview that the hotel’s current wine production is for hotel guests only. “However, we have presented our product in various international scenarios, and it has been well received by such by such renowned wine experts Luis Vicente Elias, who has encouraged us to continue with this project,” said Alvarado.
The Ocoa Bay project has also introduced the concept of eco-gastronomy, involving local agricultural growers.
“We are incorporating fishing coops and meat producers of the region, because the concept of sustainability involves the integration of the community in what we are doing,” said Carlos Estevez, Ocoa Bay’s executive chef.
“We have re-discovered 50 traditional recipes from the province of Azua that we will integrate into our regular menu in the upcoming summer months,” he said.
Approximately 1.4 million square meters will be used to develop the hotel’s agro-tourism Project. The first phase will begin with 140,000 square meters.
Ocoa Bay has been conceived as a resort community that will include villas, a boutique hotel, clubhouse, restaurant, marina, shops, conference rooms, amphitheater, church, spa, botanical garden, racquet club, kids club, heliport, runways for small aircraft, parking, water supply, treatment plant, electricity service and the collection and treatment of solid waste.
Wine in the Americas
Historical documents reveal that wine was first introduced in the Americas through the island of Hispaniola, what today is the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
It was from the island, through the hands of Spanish conquistadors Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro, who introduced wine to the rest of the Americas.
The question many are asking is: Is it possible to harvest grapes and produce high quality wines in the Dominican Republic?
The answer is yes, said architect Acevedo. Both objectives have been achieved in the preparatory phase of the Ocoa Bay agro-tourism and real estate project.
The project began some nine years ago, when the developers began to work on an experimental vineyard. So far, the results accumulated through the years have proven that this particular region of the Dominican Republic can produce excellent vineyards.
So far, various varieties have been introduced to the country through the project: Moscato Hamburg, Tempranillo, Malvacia, Italy, French Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monte Pulciano. Other wines (red, white and rosé) have also been produced, with very good results.