The Parable: A remarkable wine story

A little over seven years ago, seven ancient vines were discovered on Robben Island. The vines grow on the exact spot that Madiba buried his manuscript for A Long Walk to Freedom in the prison garden.
Under my brother-in-law Philip Jonker’s guidance, the Weltevrede Aansporingstrust (an empowerment trust of winegrowers who have worked the Weltevrede vines for generations) volunteered to nurse the vines on the island back to health. As you can well imagine, the trips from Bonnievale to Robben Island with a crew of winemakers was no easy task. And what with rough seas, bad weather and hungry island birds… But after three years the first vintage (2012) yielded a crop.
“A wine is made to tell the story of Robben Island and history is told again like a parable, an allegory; about the discovery of forgotten vines, their struggle and perseverance, a tale of relentless hope, patience, and the resulting fruit, the first wine made from the vines of Robben Island.”
*sob*! I’m so proud!
So, two wines were made at Weltevrede after the harvest: a sweet dessert wine (The Parable) and an MCC Brut (The Manuscript), both of which will be sold at international charity auctions.
The first bottle of The Parable was presented to Mr Mandela on his 94th birthday (you may have seen it on the news):

Is that not one of the best wine stories you’ve ever heard?


4 Responses to “The Parable: A remarkable wine story”

  1. Margi Capelouto August 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    What a wine story and your wording of the events building up to making the wine were marvellous. What a brother-in-law! Hope that when the auction happens, that the wine raises thousands of Rands.

    • bern August 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Margi. It really is a remarkable story (and Philip is a lovely brother-in-law!) The proceeds of the wine will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation as far as I’m aware, so, yes, let’s hope it raises thousands of rands $$$$$!

  2. Catherine Biggs August 31, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Hi Bernadette, so great to get this link from Susan – what a lovely heartwarming story! Great to be in touch again. C xxx

    • bern September 4, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Hi Catherine. Glad you enjoyed reading it. The response has been amazing. xB

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