Western Cape winery Audacia on Thursday launched its sulphite-free white wine made using Honeybush and Rooibos chips, and it is developing a low-sugar, low-alcohol wine.
Western Cape Economic Opportunities Minister Alan Winde noted that the products were a boost for the province’s agroprocessing sector, specifically in the wine industry, which in the Western Cape, employed 167 494 residents.
He joined Audacia director Trevor Strydom and winemaker Neil Patterson for the launch of the “world-first” wine, where Strydom explained that sulphur was commonly used as a preservative in wine. However, some people were allergic to sulphur.
“The antioxidant-rich indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush wood chips we use in our wine-making process remove the need to preserve wine by adding sulphur,” commented Strydom.
Audacia was in the process of patenting the wine-making method in over 80 countries across the world.
Winde emphasised that the Western Cape provincial government had set its sights on creating an enabling environment for all entrepreneurs.
“We will assess how we can support entrepreneurs with the patenting process. Further, we will continue our efforts to eradicate unnecessary red tape so entrepreneurs like Trevor have the environment they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”
Meanwhile, the winery was also conducting trials on low-kilojoule, low-alcohol wines, seeking to produce a low-sugar, low-alcohol wine that did not compromise on taste.
Traditionally, when lowering the alcohol level in wines, more sugar was added, changing the taste of the wine.
“South Africa will produce a healthier option, in terms of low-alcohol and low-sugar wines,” advised Strydom.
Winde highlighted that about R20-billion, or 53%, of the South African wine industry’s contribution to national gross domestic product was generated in the Western Cape.
“In addition, Project Khulisa has identified agroprocessing as a key growth sector [in the Western Cape], with the potential to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to the local economy over the next five years,” stated Winde.
As a result, the Western Cape provincial government would work to increase the value of wine exports in key strategic markets to achieve this job creation target. “Products like Audacia’s Rooibos- and Honeybush-wooded wines give us greater market share and cement our brand as highly innovative,” Winde added.
Strydom further announced plans to share the technology with local companies through a licensing process.