Wine is as old as time itself.
It is served in dining rooms and restaurants all over the world and has inspired countless poets, authors and even amateur writers to proclaim their love for the beverage of kings.
With the movement to make wine more sustainable, environmentally friendly and healthier for consumers, certain wine lovers have been afraid that the quality of their beloved drink will fall victim in the process.
However, this is not the case, as Stellar Winery – South Africa’s largest producer of fine, organic, fairly trades wines – proves.
Certain quarters fear that organic or vegan wines won’t taste the same because a lot of “ingredients” used in conventional wines are left out, but Klaas Coetzee, head winemaker, production manager and general arbiter of quality at Stellar Winery is of the opinion that the opposite is true.
“On the contrary, I think the wine is of a much better quality. If your grape quality is poor you need to add a lot of fining agents to ‘improve’ the wine,” explains Klaas.
As evidence of this, Stellar Winery is consistently awarded accolades, producing wines of excellent quality without neglecting the taste experience.
They have received a variety of awards in different competitions, and while competing with conventional wines, have proven that organic and vegan friendly wines deserve their place on the top shelf.
Stellar Winery showcase their wines in South Africa as well as in the international markets, and their wine is available in countries such as the USA, UK, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Malta, and the continent of Africa.
Stellar Winery provides Woolworths South Africa with an exclusive organic wine range that is not only great for you and the environment, but is also well loved by South African wine lovers.
Stellar Winery is also constantly looking to produce the best wine possible. Klaas’s philosophy is that you should never think you know everything and that you should always try to improve, no matter what.
“I’m constantly attending wine making seminars, and trying to taste a lot of international wines to benchmark our quality. We’re also investing in a high density planting programme in the cool Koekenaap area. This will ensure low crop per vine and excellent quality,” Klaas explains.
Stellar Winery is situated at Kys Halte, just outside of Vredendal, Western Cape, and borders the Namaqualand – the only semi-arid biosphere hotspot in the world.
All Stellar Winery’s wines are certified organic, gluten free, vegan friendly and fair trade according to Fair for Life regulations, giving wine drinkers a guilt free experience.
They also produce no-added-sulphur (NSA) wines, and are the largest global producers in this niche category.
“We’ve started to focus on the right terroir for different grapes, which has a significant influence on the quality of the wines. This is why our award-winning wines are steadily increasing,” says Klaas.
At the 2017/18 Ultra Wine Challenge the 2017 Woolworths Organic Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz both won double gold and the Woolworths Organics Pinotage won a silver award.
Stellar Winery’s 2017 Running Duck Reserve Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon also received a silver award.
“The fact that we are winning awards right through our various ranges indicates that all the wines are of a very high standard. Over the past few years, we have managed to lift the quality of our entire offering to the market,” says Klaas.
Stellar Winery’s wines continue to perform exceptionally and at the 2017 Vitis Vinifera Awards, their Live-a-Little NSA Really Ravishing Red and Rather Revealing Rosé (which are both bottled for the US) received golds apiece.
Their Woolworths wine range also performed very well at the 2017 Vitis Vinifera awards and walked away with the following awards: Woolworths Organic NSA Merlot (gold), Woolworths Organic NSA Cabernet (gold), Woolworths Organic NSA Pinotage (gold), Woolworths Organic NSA Shiraz (double gold), and the Woolworths Organic Sauvignon Blanc (gold).
At the 2017 Veritas Awards the Running Duck Reserve Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon received a gold award and Running Duck Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinotage received silver.
Stellar’s stunning 2015 Sensory Collection Chardonnay received a gold award at the 2017 Michelangelo Awards and The River’s End Chenin Blanc 2016 and Running Duck Reserve Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017 both received silver.
“Another highlight of this award season is our highly acclaimed Woolworths Organic range, which has received ten awards thus far. The Shiraz in this range, with no added sulphur, is a clear favourite in the award circles, and we hope that consumers will feel the same way.” says Willem Rossouw, managing director of Stellar Winery:
At the 2017 Gold Wine Awards their 2017 Woolworths Organic Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Woolworths Organic Shiraz, 2016 Running Duck Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinotage and 2017 Running Duck Reserve Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon all bagged gold.
According to Klaas, the quality of vegan and organic wines available to consumers gets better every year.
“Organic growers realize that the fact that the wine is organic does not guarantee wine sales. Quality and style must be able to compete with conventional wines, but there is always room for improvement,” says Klaas.
“It seems like there is a big need for organic, no-added-sulphur wines in South Africa, and that is why we will soon launch a specific sales portal for restaurant owners, where they will be able to purchase unique wines for their wine lists,” adds Willem.