It seems like a strange combination—wine and 94-year-old South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. But he and his family have officially launched the House of Mandela Wines in the United States. The label launched in South Africa in 2010. But Mr. Mandela is actually a wine lover–in moderation. Since his release from prison, Mandela has one glass of wine each week. Add to that, South Africa is becoming increasingly known for its fine wines.
“The wine movement is growing,” Tukwini Mandela, his granddaughter, told The Huffington Post. “More and more people are experimenting with wine beyond spirit drinks. And there’s a large segment of the black community who is interested in wine now.”
House of Mandela Wines, offering blends of red and white grapes, was launched last week during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Prices range from about $12 to $50 for its royal reserve collection. The line includes red, white and sparkling wines, and a pinotage that is a Mandela family favorite. Pinotage is rare for South Africa, where the industry is dominated by red wines.
The logo is an image of a bee, which symbolizes compassion, sharing, humanity and “one who is brave enough to challenge the status quo.”
“We are praising our ancestors,” said Tukwini Mandela. “We are telling the story of our family and who we come from with these wines so it’s only natural that we would use the name Mandela.”
“It’s a reflection that South Africa is maturing in terms of its wine product,” said Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of the former president of South Africa. “There is a lot of synergy between wine and our family. But when you look at how the vine grows, the vine doesn’t grow in a straight line. It twists and turns, representing the twists and turns of life. Life is not a straight line. What we are proud of is that out of adversity we helped create a wonderful experience.”
Part of the proceeds from House of Mandela will go to charitable groups working to resolve education, health, culture, and energy issues in South Africa.
It is not the first business started in Mandela name. In fact, some critics say the his name and image are being exploited. According to The Network Journal, The Nelson Mandela Foundation began to take efforts in 2009 to avoid Mandela’s name from being exploited, such as distancing itself from a clothing line using his prison number, 46664 Apparel.