Marie Galante French West Indies
The first time I sailed to this picturesque island there were five distilleries in operation. Two of these distilleries had closed by the time the first edition of this book was published. The future of the small distillery is threatened, but judging by the interest of tourists visiting the distilleries on this island, there is an increasing demand for these distilleries as tourist attractions.
Marie Galante, with its highest elevation of only 130 meters, is a drier island than Guadeloupe and receives only about 150cm of rainfall annually. About ninety-five percent of the sugar cane produced on this island goes into the manufacture of sugar at the mill just south of St. Louis on the northwest coast. The remaining five percent is consumed by the three distilleries on this beautiful island.
Marie Galante has the right by law to produce rhum that is 59 % alcohol by volume. 59° is the trademark of Marie Galante, and the rhum from this island is considered unique in the French rhum market.
The island lifestyle on Marie Galante is one that most people dream of and few can believe actually exists. This is one of the few places where a team of oxen pulling a wooden cart is a common sight, especially around the distilleries. Time has been kind to this small island, where life in the sun moves at a more comfortable pace.
About a kilometer from the Bellevue distillery, the windmill at the Bezard estate has been renovated and now can be seen crushing cane. This is one of only four windmills in the Caribbean that has been renovated and the only one that can be seen operating on a regular basis. The first time I saw this mill operate the wind was uncharacteristically light. But as the giant blades slowly began to turn everyone watching was struck with a sense of awe.
When you get to Marie Galante don't miss seeing this mill in action. Since the wind is generally more reliable in the middle of the day, the mill is demonstrated daily between 11:00 and 14:00.
- There are 3 sugar cane spirit distillers in this database from Marie Galante French West Indies.
- Distillerie Bielle
- Distillerie Poisson
- Domaine de Bellevue