Spirit of South Africa: a political leader's daughter and granddaughter toast to new opportunities in the wine industry.

Author:Alleyne, Sonia

TO MANY IN THE WEST, THE NAME NELSON Mandela is synonymous with his role in dismantling apartheid in South Africa. To South Africans, Mandela's clan name, Madiba, identifies him in terms of his history and Thembu lineage. He is descended from a king who once ruled Thembuland in the Eastern Cape, and also of a chief who ruled Mvezo.

It was in honor of their distinguished ancestry that Mandela's daughter Makaziwe (from his first marriage, to Evelyn Mase) and his granddaughter Tukwini launched the South African wine company House of Mandela (www.houseofmandela.com) in June 2010. "Everything we do fits into our culture and who we are as a family," says Makaziwe. She says that developing a wine brand--even one with a familiar name--required significant research, training, and effort, especially since neither of them had worked in the industry.

Despite their lack of experience (Tukwini has a background in sales and marketing, and Makaziwe has held leadership positions in economic and development organizations), "there was a deliberate effort to be involved in all levels of the winemaking process," Tukwini says.

The House of Mandela offers two brands. Its Royal Reserve Selection comprises its finer wines: a 2008 cabernet sauvignon, a 2007 shiraz, a 2009 chardonnay, and Brut Methode Cap Classique, a sparkling blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinotage. The more moderately priced Thembu Collection includes a sauvignon blanc...

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