Trinidad and Tobago’s Christmas celebrations have already begun, and sweet parang music is playing on the local radio stations; including Scrunter’s ‘Homemade Wine,’ which is where our story kicks off. I remember growing up in the rural area of Maracas, St. Joseph, listening to Scrunter regale us with the tales of the sweet and tasty flavours of local wine. I also remember family members making these wines in two-gallon mason jars.
A series of events eventually unfolded, and coupled with my own entrepreneurial spirit 11 Degrees North (11DegN) was born. You may be wondering why 11DegN? Well, Trinidad’s exact geographical location is 10.58 Degrees north, so we just rounded it up. This is significant because our unique location determines rainfall, sunlight duration, richness of soil, etc. All of which plays a substantial role in the bearing of the fruits we use, and the actual acidity/sweetness, among other factors, which eventually yields that perfect bottle of wine.
We at 11DegN have partnered with several local farmers and local retailers to manufacture and stock our wines. We have also prided ourselves on being as local as we can. We, however, source and ship some the yeasts used in the fermentation process, and the corks (yes we cork our wines, no caps here) from abroad. But from the farmer who plants and reaps the fruits that we use, to the hands that bottle and distribute our wines, we have committed to being as local as can be.
My obsession with all things wine, as well as my innate drive to improve my craft has lead me to travel the world. I have spent time in well-known wine producing regions such as: Argentina, California and several parts of Europe, visiting as many wineries and vineyards as I could; learning and absorbing all the nuances and traditions that go along with making wine. These visits opened my eyes tremendously and helped me elevate my product from just being perceived as something “granny use to make”, to being the most sought after boutique wine in the country. Our wines are also heavily requested by those who live abroad; we have gotten requests from as far as Australia.
The question we are asked the most is: Is this a real wine? We at 11DegN apply and use the same aerobic and anaerobic fermentation processes as every other wine in the world. It is also aged in oak, which adds to the complexity and flavor, with other secret ingredients that we have adopted from our travels, which adds a greater level of sophistication and panache.
Our current wine catalogue comes in five unique and distinct flavours: cashew, five finger, pommerac, jamun, and the most requested of them all – Sorrel. We encourage you to pick up a bottle at any of the following locations:
- Connoisseurs Pantry ( Movie Towne)
- Bottle Stop, Maraval
- Uncorked, Tragarete Road
- The Shop Normandie, St Anns
- The Pub House, Ariapita Avenue
- Twee, Piarco, Duty Free
- Happy Gourmet, Valpark Shopping Plaza
- Xtra Foods, O’mera
- TnT Wine Cellar, Couva
- Xtra Foods, Endeavor
- The Mini Mart at Tradewinds Hotel,San Fernando
- Time to Wine, San Fernando
- Time to Wine, Shirvan Plaza
- R.T. Morshead, Buccoo