The聽countdown towards the end of this journey has officially started; during the last few days we have been approaching remote areas of the island, but now it is time to聽return to base聽or, at least, to get closer to our final destination.

Today we are traveling聽from聽Pedernales聽to聽Santo Domingo; in normal conditions聽it would take around five hours in order to travel across those聽304 kilometers that separate these two cities. However, we聽need to take into consideration the physiological needs of nine people, as well as the need to allow our driver to have a break and grab some food on the way.

Because of these reasons, we leave very early in the morning and we stop at聽OcoaBay, a winery located inland from聽Baia di Ocoa聽and which聽represents a real pride for the whole island.

Our journey starts from the hostel where we spent our last couple of days and our van 鈥 which is extremely聽full 鈥 finally聽hits the road passing through聽Cabo Rojo, Oviedo and then stopping at聽Paraiso.

We get off the van and 鈥 as usual 鈥 each of us is carrying their own camera. Some of us check the shops, some others take pictures on the street, have a stroll聽at the market or chat with locals who are always more than happy to share their story or pose for a picture.聽We see a group of bikers who proudly show us their shining bikes.

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OcoaBay:聽Food and Wine Tourism in the Dominican Republic

More than five centuries ago the Dominican Republic represented the first country in the Caribbean region to produce wine; this is a very peculiar aspect considering that this聽land is not very suitable for wine production. The growth lasted for many years, until Spanish conquerors decided to move to Central America and to abandon these vineyards. Since that moment nobody had the courage to start the聽challenge of making wine and growing grapes again.

Ocoa Bay聽is a paradise that extends over 1 million square meters and which is located just across the beautiful and immaculate聽Bah铆a de Ocoa. Ocoa Bay aims at becoming the聽Napa Valley聽of the Dominican Republic.聽The final project, which includes a luxury hotel featuring a club-house and a restaurant, conference rooms, mall, wellness spa and a heliport 鈥 includes an extended vineyard that sets the beginning聽of food and wine tourism in the Dominican Republic. It won鈥檛 be the first vineyard of the Caribbean, but it is the first and only wine-and-food-tourism聽project that has been developed聽in this area of the Caribbean.
How is it possible to grow high quality wine in the Dominican Republic? The answer is very easy: the microclimate of聽this specific southern part of the island 鈥 characterized by mountains 鈥 is not very rainy and its night temperatures 鈥 which are very different from its daily temperature 鈥 create the ideal temperature range to grow wine. The moderate weather allows farmers to pick grapes every six months, and the results of this experiment are more than positive 鈥 according to the quality of the wine that we have been tasting so far.

We tried a bottle of聽French聽Colombard. As you smell it, you can recognize a pungent scent with some hints of rosemary; however, citrus and tropical fruits are the main olfactory base that characterize this wine.
You can easily feel tropical fruits such as mango, and some hints of dry fruits.

The wine is perfect for a hot day聽on the beach or to enjoy some seafood. I must admit that if I didn鈥檛 know that this wine came from the Caribbean I wouldn鈥檛 have guessed. You can feel the ocean but not the Caribbean.

This vineyard has been active for the last聽five years with the aim of shaping the best quality wines. In these vineyards 鈥 which now occupy a relatively limited space 鈥 grow different kinds of grape such as:聽French Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Moscato de Hamburgo, Italia, Malvas铆a, Montepulciano, Alfonso Lavall茅e, Passerina, Syrah, Rebo, Cannonau, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Xarel-l贸, and Red Globe.

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Our day continues with a lunch focused on wine and food tourism 鈥 the final project of this big investment.

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If you want to make an investment in one of the most incredible places of our planet, you can buy some land located within this resort. Besides building your dream house, you will have a piece of land where to grow your own wine 鈥 you can decide to grow it for yourself, or to entrust in to聽OcoaBay for retail purposes.

 

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