Melvyn Minnaar: The USP of Afrikaans – on the rise?

Down the road from me is a delightful takeaway foodie place called Slaai. You won’t be surprised that it is owned by The Salad Co. Over in the beautiful Breedekloof, the enterprising Louw brothers Attie and Zak have launched a take-way of a different kind, comprising fresh produce of the region. They call it Opstal Vars.

Over a tasting of the two new top-tier Stellenbosch Hills wines at their launch recently, the talk was about Afrikaans on labels in the wine business. A small, more comfortable shift to feeling free to go for Afrikaans seems to be in the air.

The two new SH wines are called Suikerboschrand and Kastanjeberg, the first a Cape blend, the latter a Chenin, both from more or less single vineyards that supply the SH company. (Lovely elegant labels, by the way, designed by Eddie Human’s studio. Not shabby wines either!)

Although not contemporary Afrikaans – more of a transitional Dutch/Afrikaans linked to the two farms’ heritage – the names on the labels have a ring of authenticity, even gravitas, and seem to me to be not insignificant marketing memes nowadays.

What they do signal, is that we have definitely – thankfully! – moved beyond the ridiculous cultural cringe of years ago when marketing nervousness removed Afrikaans from all markers to do with South African wine.

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