Pinotage has a reputation for being a serious wine. Wellington Wines has managed to tap into the variety’s lighter side with a White Pinotage, which forms part of an exciting new line-up. This is the second in a series of three articles focusing on Wellington Wines.

As a well-established bulk wine producer boasting several strong brands, Wellington Wines has made it its business to develop the breadth and depth necessary to reach a substantial segment of the market. Another strength is to produce an excellent Pinotage. The La Cave Pinotage is no stranger to awards, most recently making an appearance among the 2017 Absa Pinotage Top 10. And if anyone still doubted winemaker Francois van Niekerk’s skill with the indigenous variety, he raked in the Champion Pinotage Trophy at last year’s SA Young Wine Awards.

Gimme Five

It therefore comes as no surprise that, when putting together the Duke of Wellington range, the first wine to be included was a premium Pino – aptly named No. 1. A case of Dukes contains two other reds (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and two classic whites (Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin), but with South Africa’s big five wines covered, the occasion called for something special to complete the six-bottle set. What better wine to fill the gap than a white made from Wellington Wines’ prized varietal? Enter Duke No. 5 – the white Pinotage. (See the next issue of WineLand for more on the Duke of Wellington range.)

In bringing white and red together, the white Pinotage has an important role to fulfil. Despite its incredible versatility, Pinotage is usually regarded as a serious wine for the boys and not exactly the first choice for a girls’ night out. But with its floral, fresh and fruity flavours, Duke No. 5 is perfectly situated to break through the barrier and introduce a new generation of wine drinkers to Pinotage’s lighter side.

Perfect Pitch

Homing in on a consumer segment identified by Wise local market research as young, independent and forward-thinking, Wellington Wines embarked on an
a process to put a product on the table that the new South African market is searching for – something that challenges convention by taking the best of tradition and giving it a novel twist through the application of skills and innovation.

No. 5 hits all the right notes. The clean, modern label positions it squarely in the premium Duke range where the minimalistic design allows the wine’s natural color to speak for itself. During preparation the Pinotage is treated like a white wine, using a single vintage with little skin contact followed by an unadulterated process that maintains the fullness and distinct mouthfeel of a high alcohol wine. The result is a Pinotage-perfect white wine with a natural rosy glow.

Legislative Hurdles

It can be hard to reconcile consumer preferences with applicable regulations. Since Sawis regulations prohibit some descriptors, the wine’s description was put to
the test. Traditional terms such as “Blanc”, “Pale” or “Blush” failed to resonate with focus groups, with some even finding them alienating. Trendsetters that they are, the segment would’ve preferred a neologism such as “Pinochette” – but this Duke would have none of it.

As it happens “Duke” polled highly, but proved impossible to register as a standalone trademark. Wellington Wines already owned the Duke of Wellington
trademark, but the group’s first choice of logo was rejected on the grounds that as a broad wine district, “Wellington” could not appear in a different size than
“wines”, which is a category. Fortunately, the final condition provided no difficulty: A wine bearing this logo has to be 100% of origin Wellington.

So if “Wellington Wines Duke of Wellington No. 5” sounds like a mouthful, that’s because it is. The title is well earned and as Duke No. 5’s label says, “True
originality is defined by its own terms.”

Wineland – September 2018

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