When a Mulderbosch wine won a coveted place in the 2020 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge line-up, the decision on how to spend the prize money was quick and easy to make.

According to the competition regulations, the prize money of R25 000 for every winning wine has to be spent in a way that will “reinforce economic and social benefits in the workplace”.

“When our Mulderbosch Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc Block S2 2018 was included amongst the Top Ten,” explained CEO Chrianto Oosthuizen, “as a team, we agreed to give the money to Stellenbosch Unite. As its name suggests, it is a collaborative Stellenbosch initiative. Established to provide Covid-19 relief, it extends social support to vulnerable members in the community. The project’s primary priority is to feed families, who are currently without income as a result of the pandemic and who otherwise might face starvation.”

The Mulderbosch money is being used to support a soup kitchen for local Kayamandi residents.

“Under different circumstances, our prize money might have been used for a project on the farm. However, it was clear to us that we could help to alleviate the immediate hardships being experienced by the people of Kayamandi. Many of our workers live in this community themselves. They know personally some of those who are struggling to survive.”

Stellenbosch Unite brings together the Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, Visit Stellenbosch (civil society) and SCAN (Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network, representing the non-profit sector). It is administered by the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust.

Oosthuizen said the Top Ten Challenge Mulderbosch winning wine had been sourced from a 35-year-old block, established in shale and sandstone soils. After hand-harvesting, the fruit was whole-bunch pressed and fermented and aged in large, 1 500 litre oak vats known as foudres. The judging panel described the wine, the only 2018 vintage contender in the line-up, as “complex and regal” in stature with “notes of honey, oak spice, roasted nuts and fynbos”.