|In 2011, Matt Grove, pioneer of the U.S. organic and sustainable food industry, sought to augment the company’s portfolio with other products that were high-quality, sustainable and affordable. Although domestic wine was initially of interest, an introduction to South African wine entrepreneur Grant Davis led to introductions to many of South Africa’s finest wine producers.
Traveling to South Africa, our team met with a group of wine producers from the Stellenbosch, Constantia, and Paarl Valley winelands. The goal was to create and introduce wine that showcased the essence of South Africa’s winelands, offerings not well known in the U.S. Further piquing their interest was South Africa’s long-time commitment to sustainability, the affordability of importing the product to the U.S., and the exciting opportunity of offering to the American market the unique Pinotage grape, which was developed and is only grown in South Africa.
We sat down with a group of wine producers headed by Fort Simon Estate. Over five days, they sipped and tasted reds and whites to define the products they wanted to offer in the U.S. Tasting and blending more than 150 different wines, we selected four varieties to develop, hiring a full-time winemaker in South Africa, Therese De Beer, to oversee their operation.
As the project evolved, it became clear there were other strengths as well. South Africa, adversely affected by apartheid, had little access to the U.S. market. This new venture would have numerous positive impacts - on the economy, through export to the U.S.; on the environment, through South Africa’s stringent sustainability certification; and on the local community, through fair trade and employment.
The new company was christened Eighth Wonder Wines. The name not only references the exceptional quality of the product, but also the association with Cape Town’s most recognized site - the stunning Table Mountain - which was named in 2011 as one of the world’s “New 7 Wonders of Nature.” Rising 3563 feet above sea level, Table Mountain is part of Table Mountain National Park and the Cape Floral Region. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the world’s richest areas of plants, including the rare and endangered Silver Tree.
Eighth Wonder Wines is also proudly a member of the Meritage Alliance.