The Alto Vista winery

I almost don’t want to talk about the Alto Vista winery, I just want to tell you about the lightness-of-being and the elation I felt when I opened the brown door, in the brown fence, hidden behind some dusty shrubs, on the Alto Vista road to the little church, when I saw in front of me the rolling hills of Hudishibana, lined with long, green rows of grape-vines and sugar cane stalks, as far as the eye can see.

A sea of green, kissed by a blue sky.

Who would have thought Hudishibana could have rolling green hills???

It was almost an outer body experience. The air so fresh, the landscape so lush and Provencal, like on a different planet. I thought I was making the whole scene up, how is that possible on our beloved desert island?

I was looking at almost 8,000 grape-vines and  perhaps much more sugar cane, standing tall, guarded by one plump domestic goose who welcomed me with a big honk. The dog didn’t even bother to get up. The place just wraps you up in a blanket of calm and relaxation.

Welcome to the Alto Vista Winery that has been harvesting grapes here since 2019, making and bottling four or five varieties of wine, building stock, in preparation for opening day, the day before yesterday.

You can now drink a nicely chilled French Colombard, or perhaps a more-fruity Chenin Blanc, a Chenin Orange, or a Tempranillo & Syrah blend, grown, harvested, pressed, fermented or not, bottled and labeled here, and served at the Alto Vista tasting room, on the winery’s second floor, overlooking the vineyards and the ocean, paired with a delicious tray of charcuterie.

The winery has her own sommelier, Hubert, a well know veteran of Aruba’s hotel industry.

I also talked to the winery’s ‘nose’ and he assured me that the soil is quite perfect, providing the crops get water. Water is the key, he said, and apparently Alto Vista has a dam, which allows it to irrigate, and the vineyard may grow up to three harvests a year, though the days in Aruba are short, just 12 hours of light, and the grapes would prefer more.

Before I say anything else, I have to apologize to David Kock, yes, the lawyer, who with his diligent, beautiful family members owns the winery.

I never believed in his dream. I never thought it was possible. Wine growing is not in the island’s culture, the climate is too harsh, the grapes too finicky. But David’s perseverance and consistency triumphed. After an attempt at beer brewing, cattle and pigs farming, coffee roasting and blending, the restless David finally found an outlet for his creative drive. And a project to pour millions of his hard earned money, down. Grape vines, Wine, Sugar Cane and Rum.

The Alto Vista Winery also features a rum distillery and all guests were treated to a house caipirinha with artisanal, Red Star Rum, made with locally grown, organic sugarcane, freshly squeezed, fermented and artfully distilled on property.

So beside defending alleged white-collar criminals, David also works his vineyard. And it is backbreaking. Because if anything, I am right about the grapes being finicky, the climate harsh and the work force very special and hard to find. David regularly invites wine-business university students from Mendoza Argentina, for internships.

I wish him success. I am recruiting some friends for Happy Hour at the winery, then we can write about the wines!

 

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March 09, 2023
Rona Coster