Oxenham, both traditional and innovative

In 1932, Edward Clark Oxenham took the crazy wager of making local wine in Mauritius. Unable to grow grapes, the self-taught man sought available alternatives: so-called “wet” wines made from rehydrated raisins. Almost 90 years later, his heritage lives on: an iron-willed company intent on pursuing innovation without losing sight of its heritage.

Dynamism, innovation and local savoir-faire are the words that best define Oxenham.

Credit photo: Anaïs Dercy

Four generations on, the firm is as youthful as ever, for it has managed to embrace new ideas as they arise without ever falling into complacency. Pioneer in local wine production, it diversified over the years, developing its expertise in importation, blending and bottling. Its reputation strengthening as it secured contracts with famous international brands such as Bellingham or Antonin Rodet, true pledges of quality.

In 2010, as rum was triggering keen international interest, Oxenham launched its own distillery and soon after had a makeover of its rum brand Bougainville – in deference to the navigator. Its seven varieties now include aged and blended rums, such XO and VSOP.

Spurred on by its originality and desire to share, the firm sought to make its sun-kissed flavours known to the world and started participating in overseas trade fairs. In light of the feedback received, Oxenham honed itself so as to craft a premium rum which would still retain an authentic Mauritian touch. Awards soon followed at some of the most prestigious trade fairs; the breakthrough needed for the brand to launch itself on a quest worthy of Bougainville himself – the conquest of Europe and Asia!

Far from resting on its laurels, Oxenham explored other avenues.

Combining traditional family recipes and years of expertise, its youngest wine experts, Fabien and Cedric Oxenham, rekindled Edward Oxenham’s dream: local tropical fruit wines. The Divine line took shape with wines made from some of the island’s most iconic fruits. Divine Tropical Lychee brings a Gewurztraminer to mind, while Divine Victoria Pineapple has Chardonnay-like features. Wine lovers seeking new flavours have quickly been won over.

Photo credit: Anaïs Dercy

If its rum and fruit wines are a clear indication of the rich diversification the family firm has embarked upon, the journey is far from over. Its next project is a craft beer with local flavours like no other, one which should delight those who relish flavours of the islands.