KWV ditches sulphur for Rooibos

18th November, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

South African producer KWV has launched a ‘natural’ Pinotage using Rooibos and Honeybush wood in place of the wine industry’s standard preservative: sulphur dioxide.

Earths Essence Pinotage 2014Called Earth’s Essence, the new brand boasts no added sulphur, but uses a patented process which sees the wine exposed to the wood of the Cape’s native Rooibos and Honeybush plants during various stages in the winemaking process.

Both bushes are renowned for their anti-oxidant properties, which have been harnessed to help protect the Pinotage, which could suffer premature oxidation without the use of standard winemaking preservatives.

“The use of non-traditional woods in the winemaking process makes it completely new and exciting,” says Louwritz Louw, Earth’s Essence winemaker. “It is a beautiful example of innovative winemaking in a modern era.”

“By using Rooibos and Honeybush wood during various stages in the winemaking process their powerful anti-oxidants protect the wine naturally,” he adds. “This is a major advantage for people who suffer from sulphur intolerance.”

Rooibos grows naturally in the Cederberg area in the Western Cape, while Honeybush is found only in the coastal districts and mountainous areas of the Western and Eastern Cape in South Africa.

The fermentation with Rooibos and Honeybush wood is done on skins. The wine is removed from the skins and pressed earlier than usual to prevent the extraction of hard tannins. In order to keep the wine sulphur free, it is also matured with wood from the indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush, and after maturation the wine is fined, filtered and bottled.

”There is global trend of consumers searching for products that are more natural, that contain less preservatives,” said Tania Theron-Joubert, global brand manager for KWV. “Up to now there is a limited selection of wines available to them, this new innovative process will increase their options to choose from,” she added.

Retailing for R89 per bottle Earth’s Essence is available nationwide at selected Makro and Checkers stores.

More information on the brand will feature soon on a new website, although the wine’s technical specifications can be viewed here.

3 Responses to “KWV ditches sulphur for Rooibos”

  1. Thomas Calhoun. says:

    How silly. Overseas drinkers won’t understand the mixing of indigenous African wood into the process. They barely understand oaking.

    And as for KWV, why don’t they just try to get their basic distribution and sales processes in order without going off on these ventures.

    Prediction – a flop.

  2. Bobby says:

    I suppose that the addition of passion fruit, melon, green peppers is also allowed? Also natural?

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