THE launch of a South African wine carrying one of the world’s most valuable and iconic trademarks happened with a whimper and no bang in sight. But then again, this was one event where even the blondest bunch of rent-a-crowd wine industry PR luvvies could have seen clouds of discontent brewing.
After years of failed BEE wines with ridiculous names and logo’s that would have a chameleon reaching for his Raybans, we now have the name Mandela on a wine label. That’s right: that name that has been so jealously protected by hundreds of thousands of toi-toi loving previously disadvantaged South Africans is now featured on three bottles of wine.
The House of Mandela has arrived.
This bit of vinous opportunism is the result of a brainwave hitting Makaziwe Mandela and her daughter, Tukwini, apparent wine lovers and students of note who got the ball rolling and decided to cement their passion by using dad and grand-dad’s name on the label. So there we are ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ House of Mandela Chardonnay, anyone? A steal at R190. Or how about the House of Mandela Cabernet or House of Mandela Shiraz, at R350 a bit pricier, but for a worthy cause it’s worth it.
No, this is not some charitable venture with proceeds going to the Children’s Fund or plethora of noble causes Madiba supports. This is a purely commercial venture, apparently with lofty aims of contributing to the SA wine culture.
In Anthony Rose’s gushing blog, Makaziwe gets all lyrical. “Although she knew little about wine at the start of the project, Makaziwe always had at the back of her mind something her father had told her: ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëif you don’t drink wine, the world won’t accept you’,” Rose writes. “She was also reminded that her father, while a man of principle, was not inflexible. She came round to the idea of the project as a way of embodying the spirit and accessibility of the Mandela family. ”
Of course, one would beg the question that if then President Mandela was so passionate about wine, why did his government never show an iota of interest in supporting and promoting the South African wine industry.
Rose continues: “At the same time, she (Makaziwe) saw the opportunity of establishing a black brand capable of setting new standards of quality and sophistication in the new South Africa. ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëTraditionally South Africans are more into hard liquor than wine but I think if we help to demystify it, more and more black people will come to appreciate what is after all a wonderful drink’.”
The smart money, including CNN who broke the story, says that the real aim is to hit ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëdem Mandela crazy folk in the US of A – who would probably buy a dead Meerkat if it had the name Mandela on it ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ and make a packet.
Of course, if anyone else had attempted to flog wine for profit with the Mandela name on it, they would be accused of treason, baby-bashing and the potato famine. But as long as you are inside the clan, anything apparently goes. Ask my mates Willem Steenkamp and Neil du Bois who were almost deported to Siberia in the early nineties for daring to use the name Robben Island on stuffed seals donning striped prison uniforms.
Hell, let’s start a whole range of political wines: “Zille’s Zin” or “Malema Blanc”. I mean, even the Aussies have a wine honouring a South African president. “Jacob’s Crack”, anyone? ,
-,, Darian Morgan
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