It began as a drunken idea: four people, one South African, one Belgian who fell in love with the Congo almost 50 years ago and two Germans, sitting a few years ago on a small island in Lake Kivu, Eastern „Democratic Republic“ of the Congo. Dagambwa, the island not far from the Rwandan border, belongs to Popol, the Congo-Belgian, who bought it in the seventies from a tribal king of the neighboring island Idjwi.
After a few beers, they discuss what one could do in and for the Congo. They talk about tourism, about solar containers and at some point also about wine: „From the volcanic soil we could also try wine-growing,“ says MiO, a wine nerd and qualified sommelier. The others are enthusiastic, but skeptical – especially Popol who has spent his whole life „making coffee“ and knows about the peculiarities of wine plants, not necessarily feeling comfortable in the humid, tropical climate.
Over the next two years the four of them talk about the idea again and again. MiO – the only one of the quartet living in Germany, not in Goma, Congo, does some researches on the subject of „viticulture in the tropics“ and approaches experts who encourage him. Popol dies unexpectedly in the meantime; one more reason for the three to finally implement the project, also in his memory.
In March 2018, when MiO boarded the Ethiopian Airlines plane to Goma with 600 wines plants given to him by a South Tyrolean friend, “Popol – the first Congo red wine” was born.