iLembe Co-operative Winery in KwaZulu-Natal launches its first wine

The iLembe Co-operative Winery marked its official opening last week with the launch of its first wine, made from cultivars suited to the humid coastal conditions of KwaZulu-Natal, in a project driven by locals and backed by the government.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has pumped R19.5-million into the development of the vineyards and winery, situated in Umhlali, north of Durban and driven by the iLembe Co-operative Vineyards and Winery.

On Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube unveiled a plaque at the winery’s wine processing facility and handed over the project to the local co-operatives.

There was a ceremonial tasting of the first wine produced in iLembe, Seventeen Eighty-Seven (the year in which Zulu King Shaka was born), “a dry, easy-drinking white wine which can be paired with salads and fish”.

Speaking at the wine processing facility at Colisheen Estate on the outskirts of Ballito near KwaDukuza, Dube said the project would unlock economic growth opportunities for the province, creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for local communities.

“The vineyard consists of 12 hectares across the iLembe District and has already created 50 direct jobs for the local communities since the inception of this initiative,” Dube said.

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