I received a media statement from GC Communications on behalf of the KWV, informing me that its oldest wine Roodeberg is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Whilst I do not normally write from media releases, this one touched me, evoking a childhood memory of growing up in Wellington. 

My parents had friends who owned a farm growing fruit, including grapes, in Klein Drakenstein outside Paarl. The grapes were delivered to the KWV, a co-operative in Paarl, and in return for this, the farmer friend of my parents received a highly sought-after allocation of Roodeberg wines, which he was kind enough to share some of with my parents. If my memory serves me correctly, it was the only South African wine that was exported, and could not be bought locally, until this changed in more recent years, when the brand became available locally. 

The media statement explained: ‘..,Roodeberg was the brainchild of Dr Charles Niehaus, a legendary pioneer of the South African wine industry, who developed new red blends at KWV in the early ‘Forties. Roodeberg soon became one of the country’s biggest export wine brands and although it was not readily available in the local market until 2004, it enjoyed iconic status in the hearts and minds of South Africans. From the onset, every bottle of Roodeberg had a story to tell. At the time, locals could only obtain Roodeberg through a wine farming acquaintance with a KWV quota. It is said that bartering sought-after test match tickets, biltong and the like in return for a bottle or two was a common occurrence. For many Roodeberg still conjures up fond memories of people, places and occasions, and of sharing special life-changing moments with family and friends, often with rare vintages squirreled away’.

Cheers to KWV Roodeberg – Thank you for the memory! 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein