Toasting success with Guyana’s first winery

Toasting success with Guyana’s first winery

By: Tangerine Clarke – caribbealifenews.com   
                                                                                   Click to: Enlarge this image
Picture: Master winemaker, Warren Douglas proudly displays two of his Pandama vintage from his winery and retreat located at Madewini, on the Linden Soesdyke Highway in Guyana.  Photo by Tangerine Clarke       

When Warren Douglas decided to produce wine on a broad scale, he chose his homeland where the pristine natural environment, and variety of fruits were the perfect welcome back for the Guyanese-American who left his adopted Charlotte, North Carolina home for a life of tranquility.Douglas’ wife Tracy, a fashion designer and painter also wanted to embrace her talents and share her knowledge with others, so four years ago the couple combined their skills and embraced a future that opened up new vistas for them in the peaceful Madewini region, on the Soesdyke, Linden Highway.  

Today, guests are relishing in the 17-acre tourist attraction that is home to “Pandama Retreat and Winery” – where visitors sip the vintage made from fruits such as Jamoon, a small purple fruit akin to blue berry, Sorrel that has medicinal properties, Anti-Desmond, Cherry, Noni, Five-Finger, also known as Carambola, and the Malacca Pear.

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Comments

  • Malcolm Singh  On November 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Congratulations, I wish Warren Douglas and his Company great success in producing such a wide variety of wines from the fruits of Guyana.
    However, let me point out that it is NOT the first Guyanese winery.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On November 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Awesome! I would love to purchase some and encourage his success.

  • de castro compton  On November 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Certainly the best way of storing fruit is to convert into an alcoholic
    drink….and Guyana’s variety and seasonal fruiting an advantage.
    I hope on my next visit I will see the wines on display in supermarkets
    even in rum shops….Guyanese taste will change with time…..from a rum
    drinking nation to a more sophiscated/diverse taste/style…..but rum
    will always be king…..
    It has a lot to do with how the product is marketed…..
    It is nice to read some good news eminating from Guyana
    This is certainly some good news….I will be on the look out
    for the different varieties of wines to taste….
    Wish them success in their venture.

    Kamptan

  • h.Bovell  On November 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I wish Mr.and Mrs.Douglas good success .I will support his business.HB

  • walter nehaul  On November 27, 2013 at 12:50 am

    thats great,somehow I keep hearing the word Pak Pak, am I going nuts

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On November 27, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Well done, Walter Douglas! Guyana needs more entrepreneurs like you and your wife. Success in your enterprise.

  • travelconnexxions  On November 27, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Congratulations to Warren Douglas and the Douglas family for investing in Warren’s country of birth.
    This is what Guyana needs more of, the “small” business that can lead the way and grow large.
    And it also needs the support of the local population to make it grow.

    Good for Warren and family for testing on the International waters as well.

    I wish you all continued success in the future.

  • Ron. Persaud  On November 27, 2013 at 8:53 am

    “The first winery” ?
    I guess it depends upon one’s definition; but in my mind, wine (someone mentioned pak-pak) production will always be associated with Correia’s Wine Factory in British Guiana.
    I remember auntie Rosie and her husband, uncle Lotus (Hunter street, Albuoystown). They gave me my first sip of the sweet, heady stuff.
    Then, when I was a teenager, I “acquired” some jamoon and we had a stone jar in the home. I put the fruit and about a pound of sugar in the jar and placed the thing in a corner of the safe and forgot about it. Some weeks later, my sister gave me an ultimatum. “do something with this or throw it away!” I slipped off the metal band that held the lid in place and cautiously peered inside, fully expecting to see a teeming mass of something objectionable. I was pleasantly surprised to see the jar almost full of liquid and the fruits all plump and kind of blanched. I squeezed and strained the concoction and was to repeat the straining a few times and the thing was clearing up nicely.
    Until one day I came home to find the jar empty and my father very apologetically explaining that his boss/friend, Mr. Ram Singh, the Taxidermist at the museum had dropped by with/for a drink – and they had run out of chaser. I dribbled the last drops out of the jar into the palm of my hand and slurped it.
    It tasted good, even if I say so myself, and more important to me, I felt that in some intangible and immeasurable way, I was my father’s equal.
    He made sure that the feeling did not persist.
    There was, at Christmas time, a strong undercurrent of competitiveness among a few women as to who made the best rice wine; but I remember it as a seasonal activity.
    Then, many years later, at Uitvlugt estate, Constance Armogum (later, Singh) produced in her kitchen, a batch of the clearest and tastiest jamoon wine I have ever enjoyed.
    And then there was “Antidesma”: full name Antidesma ghaesembilla – the troublesome weed at Ogle estate. We were hell bent on eradicating it while a few of us would eat the fruits and “set wine” with it. Norman Douglas at LBI was our mentor in wine making. For me, antidesma wine had kassa (astringent) taste.
    The truth is, that except for “Harvey’s Bristol Cream” sherry, I never developed a palate for wine.
    I guess that there are two takeaways from this.
    1.”And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered…” (Emerson).
    2.The entrepreneur spirit lies latent in Guyana.
    Maybe it is the environment. There are many examples of Guyanese who went abroad and returned later to start/build successful business enterprises. I sense that most are those who went to the USA.
    Perhaps it was the somewhat altruistic values which were instilled by upbringing and education.
    I often wonder.

    • Rosaliene Bacchus  On November 27, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks for that journey down Memory Lane, Ron.

      • carl  On November 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

        RON, I AM SORRY THAT YOU DID NOT GET A TASTE OF YOUR ‘BREW’. DONT KNOW WHY MY UNCLE DRANK ALL OF YOUR WINE. HE WAS MY FATHER’S BROTHER.

  • Clyde Duncan  On November 28, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I just phoned Roderick Sue-A-Quan, a cousin of Trev Sue-A-Quan – author of Cane Reapers, and other books – to ask about wineries in Guyana. Roderick’s father James Alexander Sue-A-Quan Wines started the business in Georgetown: A winery in Alexander Street, bottling and sales in Robb Street and another sales outlet in New Amsterdam. Roderick took over the business from his father in the 1950’s.

    Roderick continued to enlighten me about the first wines in Guyana: de Castro Wines in la Penitence; Correia Wines on Broad Street; another Correia Winery on Charlotte Street; and yet another Correia Winery on D’urban Street.

    I don’t have any Chinese DNA, but Roderick Sue-A-Quan is married to my mother’s cousin. Roderick’s wife is a Fung-Fook. Funny how that works – these are my cousins and I don’t have the DNA?? My grandfather’s sister [Stuart] married Fung-Fook. Trev Sue-A-Quan’s mother and father are the sister and brother of Roderick Sue-A-Quan’s mother and father. [Note: I did NOT say ‘in-law’]

    Ron Persaud: Is Auntie Rosie and Uncle Lucas the same people I know?? Auntie Rosie was related to Cumberbatch; and Uncle Lucas was a Manager at Forgarty’s?? They lived in Alberttown. Uncle Lucas died in Guyana and Auntie Rosie died in Canada.

  • de castro compton  On November 28, 2013 at 4:49 am

    About wines and winery…
    While working in Bank Breweries in beer production we began producing
    wines “commercially” from imported grape concentrate….with fully automated
    production line for bottling…don’t know if these wines are available
    today in Guyana or exported…..commercially in quantity.
    I did look in supermarket but did not see any…..
    The success of a product depends on how well it is packaged/distributed/marketed….quality control essential.

    I will certainly be tasting some of the locally produced fruit wines
    on my next visit …in UK new world wines are market leaders….and
    some other European brands. My two favourites are California and Chilean
    brands….some Australian ones also.

    Like any consumer product especially wines it is very very competitive
    if world markets are to be penetrated….some cases impossible to compete.

    Hey nothing tried nothing gained
    Wish Guyana and Guyana unique fruit wines every success.

    Kamptan

  • Clyde Duncan  On November 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I could kick myself for not wishing Warren Douglas and “Pandama Retreat and Winery” all the best and much success in their enterprise – that was my initial purpose in commenting and got side-tracked with the phone call, etc…

    Warren Douglas – Wishing You and Yours All the Best of Success!!

  • Ron. Persaud  On November 30, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Clyde Duncan, I doubt it very much. Lotus worked at Sprostons (as did so many men from Albuoystown and La Penitence) and Rosie did domestic work. The fact that I called this Portuguese couple uncle and auntie is a tribute to my elders who demanded that we ‘show respect’ always. I had an “uncle Jeff” and an “auntie Barker” in Leguan.
    Your post reminded me that “Gunboat” was a popular brand of wine.
    There was a “Sangria” or “Sangrita” wine. Probably the latter because I remember my wife’s nieces composing a little verse that went:
    Sangrita! Sangrita!
    Whatta treata, auntie Rita.

  • de castro compton  On November 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Ron
    Interesting perspective to the auntie” “uncle” respect doctrine.
    One must not forget the Portuguese although not “white” were
    given special treatment by their “white” colonial masters.
    Especially so after the abolution of slavery. Politricks of the times.

    However if that respect for elders in society was extended to today’s
    everyday living am sure our next generation will make us all proud.
    Elders in the developed societies have a very sad and lonely existence
    until their exit ….especially if they have no children or grandchildren.
    Am one of the lucky ones to have had two daughters and two sons and now
    6 grandchildren and counting.
    RESPECT should come before love ….as sometimes love is blindfolded.
    More respectful the more likely we are to offer unconditional love.

    My spin entirely….and I am open to critique….I always listen first.

    Kamptan

  • Clyde Duncan  On November 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Ron: I had a chuckle reading your reply. I just phoned my 90-year old mother, in Toronto, to jog her memory. We called him Uncle Chris – his name was Chris Luther. We don’t remember where they lived prior to Alberttown, and we don’t know where he worked prior to Fogarty’s – if he did work any where else – but I would not be surprised if we are talking about the same couple. Hey, it is a small community in Guyana – about half-a-million, back then – with inflation a little more than that, today. No place to run – no place to hide!! LOL

  • de castro compton  On November 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Ron Clyde
    Some demographics

    In 60 years the population of Guyana has moved from half million to
    800.000 souls….most populations would have trippled ….
    Is the logic that follows mean that more than half have left Guyana.
    Interesting statistics to ponder…..
    Where we come from
    Where we are
    Where we going

    In a word “stagnation” economically speaking.
    Politically it get worse…..”******” …stalemate or static.

    Kamptan

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