Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist said, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
The South African economy has climbed many hills. Even today, with mining as the main economic driver, the Rand is very weak.
So maybe it’s high time the country look toward the lower west coast and embrace its flourishing wine industry.
Their making great wines at reasonable prices. And not just the infamous Chenin Blanc, but their red are just as well-produced. And the investors are noticing.
“When people are determined they can overcome anything.” — Nelson Mandela
The vines are now 15 to 20 years old. They have the largest Chenin Blanc (a white wine grape from the Loire Valley that is halfway between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay) plantings in the world.
Which is why 55 percent of the wine they produce is white and about 45 percent is red.
And there is production integrity now. They have sustainable wine-growing practices and the wines have seals as proof.
With that, the money is coming.
The native professional golfers started it. David Frost, who won 11 times on the PGA Tour and grew up in the wine business, produced his first vintage in 1997. Ernie Els produced his in 2000. He is alos responsible for some of the most sought after wine tours.
Then Charles Banks, entrepreneur, wine collector and founder of Terroir Capital took a trip to South Africa with his wife, tasted some of the oldest Chenin Blanc on the continent and fell in love.
In 2011, he bought two South Africa wineries: Mulderbosch Vineyards in Stellenbosch and Fable Mountain Vineyard in Tulbagh. He is also a part of Marvelous Wines, a collaboration with a local winemaker and chef.
And it wasn’t just American entrepreneurs that saw potential.
Lawrence Graff, the British diamond magnate, is now there making his Delaire Graff wines, says Clarke. And the Indian entrepreneur Analjit Singh (“He is essentially the Indian Charles Banks,” says Clarke) saw opportunity and partnered with Mullineux Family Wines.
In 2014, Kendall Jackson, the California-based company, invested in property with a mission to create high-end wines.
For more on South African wines read on here.
And you know I would love to hear your thoughts on this, the wines you are drinking or anything else…so send a quick note!