In a landmark innovation for the international wine industry, a Western Cape wine label has launched a red wine wooded with honeybush.
On 23 February 2016 Audacia, a Stellenbosch winery, launched the new product at the offices of Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities. Audacia Natural Red is a low-kilojoule, low alcohol wine, wooded with Honeybush chips.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the method was uniquely South African.
“We have a reputation as one of the world’s highest quality wine producers. Since 1994, South African wine exports have grown from 50 million litres to 500 million litres.”
“South Africa is constantly breaking new ground in wine innovation. We are the only country to produce the Pinotage cultivar and we are one of a few countries to have launched a traceability seal which guarantees the ethical production of our wine. Pioneering new products, such as Audacia’s Honeybush and Rooibos-wooded wines, are more examples of how we are setting ourselves apart on the global market,” said Minister Winde.
Minister Winde added that the wine industry was an important job creator, employing over 289 000 people in the country and 167 000 residents in the Western Cape.
Trevor Strydom, the managing director and partner at Audacia, said the wine was in line with global trends, where consumers have become more health conscious. In addition to the use of Honeybush chips, the wine also has a detailed nutritional label, which provides a break-down of total energy (kilojoules), sugar content, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fibre and sodium per 100 ml.
The wine contains 200 kilojoules per 100 ml and 7.5% alcohol. Strydom said: “Having been made with our own indigenous Honeybush wood chips (which have been lightly toasted to enhance the wine’s flavour), it’s also a uniquely South African product with a unique value proposition. There is no denying this wine is a healthier option for kilojoule conscious wine drinkers. For all these reasons, we believe it’s going to perform exceptionally well on the global wine stage.”
“Usually, when winemakers produce low alcohol wines, the wines tend to lose structure as alcohol makes up the backbone of the wine and wine makers end up adding grape concentrate to improve flavour,” explains Strydom. “This results in wines that may be lower in alcohol, but might still contain a lot of residual sugar. In contrast, our indigenous Honeybush wood contains a natural compound called Hesperetin, which enhances the sweetness and flavour of wine without adding to its kilojoule content – Hence the low residual sugars in Audacia Natural Red.”
Strydom said he was in the process of sharing the technology used in the process with other local winemakers. Further, he provided an update on the move to create a geographical indicator for South African wines produced using this method.
“From a local wine industry perspective, the most important factor is the urgent need for government to create a new class of wine to differentiate this unique product range in the global marketplace. We are currently working with government and various regulatory bodies to determine the most appropriate term for the wines. The term ‘RSA Indigenous Wooded Wine’ has been brought to the table, but we are still in discussion around final official terminology. It is imperative that the new class be created as soon as possible so as to differentiate South African indigenously ‘wooded’ wines from other wines produced globally using imported oak wood derivatives (oak staves, chips, powders and extracts).
Strydom said this process would still take a few months to complete, adding: “My belief is that the new wine class also needs to be strictly controlled by government to ensure that only quality, certified indigenous wooded wines get packaged in South Africa and exported from South Africa, thereby ensuring we do what is in the best interest of the South African wine industry, creating jobs locally and growing our economy.”
Audacia Natural Red (low kilojoule) wine will be available for sale at Audacia’s cellar door and Audacia’s Root44 weekend market from 1 March 2016.
Photo: Trevor Strydom (Managing Director & Partner Audacia) and Alan Winde (Minister of Economic Opportunities)