A glass of rooibos red please: SA’s first indigenously wooded wine
Many of us love a good cup of rooibos tea, perhaps nowadays a red cappuccino. But have you ever had a glass of rooibos wine?
Five years ago, the owners of Audacia Wines challenged themselves to find a ‘blue ocean opportunity’. Was there an innovative niche, a distinct competitive advantage, that could set their wines apart in the South African and global wine industry? Trevor Strydom made it his mission to find out, and today he has developed a ‘global gamechanger’ by creating wine with a truly indigenous twist.
Looking at the local influences and natural flavours around him, it dawned on Trevor that the secret to success may lie in the wood used for the winemaking process. It was time to challenge the age-old convention of winemaking with only oak wood products (wood chips, staves, powder and liquid tannin extracts) imported from Europe, and look instead towards indigenous alternatives, such as fynbos from our very own Cape Floral Kingdom.
Today, Audacia uses wood from rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia genistoides) plants, to produce ‘No Sulphites or Preservatives Added’ red wines – a breakthrough for those concerned about the health implications of artificial preservatives or allergic to the high sulphur dioxide levels found in many wines.
‘The launch of this new class of wine allows people who are allergic to Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), or other preservatives often used in winemaking, to enjoy a glass of wine without the normal side effects associated with sulphite preservatives,’ attests Michael van Niekerk, cellarmaster at Audacia.
Using only the chipped, toasted wood (not the leaves) of the rooibos and honeybush plants, Audacia has created a niche that speaks to the growing emphasis that current generations are placing on health and sustainability. The indigenous wood has high levels of antioxidants, no caffeine and lower levels of tannins than the woods traditionally used for winemaking.
Following the success of the first ever rooibos-wooded wine launched in 2013, Audacia’s latest creation is a low kilojoule/low alcohol honeybush-wooded wine, which uses the natural compounds of honeybush to enhance the flavour of the wine without adding to its sugar, and hence kilojoule, content.
Riding the wave of these innovations, the winery is in the process of working with government to create a new class of wine that will differentiate their unique fynbos-wooded wines in the global marketplace. The idea is that all South African producers gain licensed access to the technology and are able to produce similar ranges of quality, certified ‘RSA Indigenous Wood Added Wines,’ creating jobs internally and playing a role in growing the local economy.
To find out more about Audacia’s pioneering mission, please visit: www.audacia.co.za
Images supplied by Audacia Winery