The name alone says it all – Mandela – and it’s a name that evokes thoughts of royalty, a rich heritage, and a historical legacy. Now that name is telling its story globally and in a different way through the House of Mandela wines.
Conceived of and led by the women of the Mandela family – Dr. Makaziwe (Maki) Mandela and Tukwini Mandela, respectively daughter and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela – and with the blessing of the patriarch himself, House of Mandela wines is the family’s way of telling their story without politicizing it as is typical when people think of Nelson Mandela the activist, civil rights leader, and vocal voice against apartheid. “My grandfather didn’t just fall from the sky,” shares Tukwini Mandela. “He has a sense of place and a family and everything he’s done he learned from somewhere and someone else, and that’s the part of the Mandela family story that we want to tell to the world with our own brand of wines as a vehicle for doing so.”
Launched officially in June 2010, the family decided to launch their wine brand after their research showed that the wine industry contributed significantly to South Africa’s GDP and employed approximately 300,000 to 350,000 people. They hired a master of wine and went to great lengths to select a winery that shared their family principles, showcased the best of what South Africa had to offer, and could produce the finest wine in an environmentally sensitive and ethically responsible manner. Three wineries out of the 33 that were interviewed were selected based on their strict criteria that the winery treated employees with respect, had fair labor practices, was family owned, and produced the quality of wine that could hold up to the Mandela family name.
What is the family story that will be told through House of Mandela wines?
“Our family story starts from the 1800’s with a king that had five sons and one of the son’s name was Mandela, and that’s the name that we carry today,” shares Tukwini. “My grandfather taught us love for your neighbor, which is universal and everyone can identify with, courage, compassion, and self determination that you can be anything that you want to be. We were not groomed to be politicians and activists, but my grandfather taught us to be aware of our surroundings and conscious of what we do as human beings.”
In addition to sharing the family’s story and legacy through their wines, the biggest inspiration for the House of Mandela is the opportunity to inspire other black families in South Africa and around the world to start their own wine brand and help create a more diverse and robust wine industry. The Mandela family is about legacy building and preserving culture and history and hopes that other families will also be inspired to reflect on their own family legacies and the positive contributions they can make in their own societies.
House of Mandela continues its global expansion and brings its story to life in Miami with a private tasting and introduction into the Miami market. The wine launched in their home base of South Africa and made its way to China and Canada followed by a U.S. launch in New York and Washington, D.C. With the House of Mandela Royal Reserve and Thembu Collection as the pinnacle of their six wines, each of their wine varieties represents the many branches of the Mandela family tree and invokes shared circles of friendship and community relationships.
“We have a story to tell that didn’t start with Nelson Mandela and won’t end with Nelson Mandela.”