#WineforGood: MAN Family Vitners

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”- Nelson Mandela

Mandela Day is celebrated internationally every year on July 18. The day celebrates Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela’s clan name) life and legacy by promoting acts of service and positive community change. Nelson Mandela fought for social justice for 67 years, so Mandela Day asks for individuals to start with 67 minutes.

South African winery MAN Family Vitners, located in Stellenbosch, knows the importance of giving back to the community.

Like the saying goes, “charity starts at home,” so last year, MAN decided to devote their #67 minutes to one specific charity in the immediate community.  Just down the road from MAN offices in Jonkershoek is Akkerland pre-school.

Akkerland pre-school, or crèche, cares for two age groups: babies and toddlers up to three years old, and ages 3-6.

July is South Africa’s coldest month, so much of MAN’s work for Mandela Day was centered on ensuring the preschool was prepared for the cold weather. Everyone from the farm workers at MAN to the office staff came together to serve the preschool in a variety of ways—from buying carpets to cover the floors to donating educational toys and books to buying warm blankets and clothing.

While volunteering at the preschool, one of MAN’s employees, Maia Bezuidenhout, noticed two young brothers, Imbo (2 years old) and Sohiso (5 years old). These two brothers, raised by a sickly single mother, were especially unprepared for the cold weather. So Maia went to the mall to buy them a few pairs of warm clothing and shoes. A few months after Mandela Day, Maia ran into Imbo, Sohiso, and their mother. The boys’ mother had not forgotten and was so grateful for the help.

This year MAN visited Akkerland in June to prepare for and see how they could best serve on Mandela Day. There, they learned Imbo and Sohiso’s mother had passed away and they were being raised by an aunt far away. While not every story has a happy ending, and while often an act of service might feel like only a drop in the bucket, the smallest devotion of time and the smallest act of service can truly make a difference and have a ripple effect. 

This Mandela Day, MAN again spent time at Akkerland, fixing cots, preparing the school for winter, and making sure they had supplies, from nappies to blankets. But MAN’s relationship with the preschool doesn’t stop after 67 minutes or even after a day. The team plans to make monthly visits to the preschool to spend time with the children, to take them to lunch, and perhaps to focus on specific families in need (inspired by Imbo and Sohiso).

MAN sees the importance of giving back to the community, keenly aware of the overwhelming needs of the underprivileged and underserved in the community.
MAN believes in promoting change and constant progress.
MAN is #WineforGood.

Vineyard Dogs

National Dog Day was August 26. In celebration we're sharing some of our favorite vineyard dogs. After all, dogs are traditionally man's (and woman's!) best friend, and we like to think wine is too. 


Tablas Creek: Located just west of Paso Robles in California's beautiful Central Coast, Tablas Creek farms organically and received their organic certification in 2003. Much of the vineyard uses Biodynamic techniques, including a herd of sheep, alpacas and donkeys. These friendly dogs try to keep their other four legged friends in line, as well as welcome visitors to the vineyard. 

Domaine Alain Gras:  over 12 hectares, primarily located in St. Romain, Domaine Alain Gras produces beautiful whites and reds. 

Alain and his two dogs

Alain and his two dogs

Ernesto Catena Vineyards: Fourth generation winemaker Ernesto Catena founded Ernesto Catena Vineyards in Argentina to truly make art. Both the farm and vineyard are biodynamic, allowing for plenty of friendly farm animals and dogs. 

Hamilton Russell Vineyards: Hamilton Russell Vineyards is known for making some of the best wines South Africa has to offer. Owners Olive and Anthony also have some of the best dogs South Africa has to offer. 

Chamonix: Deep in the wine growing region of Franschhoek in the Western Cape of South Africa, Chamonix makes well-respected wines. Winemaker Thinus Neethling has a beautiful dog that makes an appearance at the vineyard from time to time. 

Drink & Know Things

In the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones,” Tyrion Lannister uttered a line that spawned a thousand memes (and tshirts, Instagram bios, and catchphrases). “I drink and I know things.” Rarely is there an episode where the clever Hand of the Queen doesn’t have a glass of wine in his hand.

This got us thinking. How many other characters are fans of a glass or two of vino? And how can you drink like your favorite character?

Photo: The Telegraph

Photo: The Telegraph

First up, the one and only Tyrion Lannister.
Game of Thrones films in a variety of exotic locations including Croatia, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Morocco, and Malta just to name a few. This current season Tyrion finds himself in the fictional Dragonstone, filmed on location in Spain. So to drink like Tyrion, grab yourself a glass of Spanish red. Our favorites Spanish producer is Marqués de CáceresYou can't go wrong with any of their wines. Tyrion may prefer red, but Marqués de Cáceres makes a delicious white and rosé in addition to their red offerings. 


 

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Olivia Pope
Like Tyrion, Olivia is a fan of a generous glass of red wine. From her white wardrobe to clean lines and classic style, our white-hat wearing protagonist is a fan of classic and quality. She isn’t drinking two buck chuck. Complex like her character (and the storylines woven by Shonda Rhimes!), Olivia would be one to pour a glass of TriguedinaThe New Black Wine.


Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Hannibal Lector
Unlike our previous characters, Hannibal Lector is not a protagonist in any sense of the word. (And yes, Hannibal is also a TV character!) He is famed for enjoying Chianti. So if you’d like to emulate any part ofHannibal Lector, let it only be his taste in wine. A glass of Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico would hit the spot quite nicely.


 

Now most TV characters drink red because it looks better on camera (no pesky condensation to deal with like a chilled white wine!) But one of our favorite television characters knows that a crisp, cool white is worth the extra filming hassle.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Tami Taylor
When you think football you likely think beer, but our favorite football coach’s wife Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights knows wine is an excellent choice. She wasn’t afraid to make her love of wine known. A bottle like Mohua Sauvignon Blanc or Famille Perrin La Vieille Ferme Blanc would endear you to Mrs. Taylor forever.


So as Tyrion says, drink and know things. Just be sure you're drinking Vineyard Brands. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will You Accept This Rioja?

If you’re a fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise or been active on social media this week, you might have seen that current bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, along with her three remaining suitors, recently took a trip to Spanish wine country.

It’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting than rolling hills, medieval villages, and rich vineyards.

Located in northern Spain, Rioja is an easy driving distance from popular cities like Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian.

The Rioja region is one of the greatest wine growing areas in the world. But don't be confused, non-Spanish speakers!  Although at first glance “rioja” looks similar to the Spanish word for red- rojo- the region produces a variety of wines including whites, reds, and even rosés.

The region has been producing wines for over 200 years, but still isn’t as well known to many consumers as other regions. So if you’re more familiar with French wine than Spanish, the Rioja region is often compared to the Bordeaux region of France. High quality wines at a variety of taste and price points abound.

Rioja has the most acreage under vines of any wine region in the world- over 140,000 acres of vines yielding 250 million liters of wine annually.

There are over 500 wineries in the region—ranging from small, more traditional cellars to large commercial producers. 

If Rachel’s quest for love has led you on a quest for love of your own, let us introduce you to a winery sure to win your heart (and your tastebuds)-Marqués de Cáceres.  The story of this winery is practically made for TV (just like the Bachelorette).

The Forner family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Finding refuge in France, Henri Forner and his brother Elysée bought and restored two antiquated and abandoned châteaux. These two châteaux are now recognized as two of the finest properties in Bordeaux.

Once returning to Spain, Henri decided to establish a bodega of his own in Cenicero, in Rioja Alta. In gently rolling hills and bordered by the Ebro River, Marqués de Cáceres is the perfect setting for a storybook romance…is it really any surprise the Bachelorette chose Rioja?

Drawing on his experiences in Bordeaux, Henri Forner introduced the estate-bottling used in Bordeaux—limiting his source of grapes to those in the immediate area. French winemaking techniques and expertise have been applied to native Spanish grapes, producing one of the finest modern Riojas.

Marqués de Cáceres has stayed in the Forner family ever since. Henri’s daughter Cristina is at the helm and leading the winery to new heights and acclaim.

Curious to try the wine for yourself? 

Pick up a bottle and fall in love. Will you accept this rioja? We know we do!