While the Bosmans have been wine farmers in Wellington for 8 generations, their approach is far from staid or traditional.
Progress is their catchphrase and transformation their watchword in their quest to improve the lives of all who live and work on their farm, but also to impact those who drink their wines. While the farmworkers own a significant portion of the farm, enabled by a ground-breaking transformation deal a decade ago, they are also fully invested in its potential, many having lived on the farm for generations themselves.
“Our philosophy when making our wines, is that they should be good,” explains winemaker Corlea Fourie, “Good for those who pick the grapes, good for those who make the wines, and great for those who to drink them. And so we would like to spread that good news throughout the country.”
For this reason, the Bosmans will be collaborating with artist, actor, producer, filmmaker and curator Thapelo Mokoena whose reach is far greater than their own, but whose vision and values are shared.
Thapelo is well-known to many South Africans having starred in a number of blockbuster movies, drama series and TV commercials.
But his investment in South Africa is much more three dimensional. Thapelo was born under a tree on his family’s farm near Ladysmith, KZN so his connection to the African soil is obvious. Well acquainted with the rigours of rugged farm life and part of a large and vibrant family, he went on to obtain a degree in Live Performance which led to a burgeoning acting career in the early 2000’s with a breakthrough role in the ever-popular soapie Generations. Today he is a household name and fondly remembered for the Hunter’s Dry ad … “You can’t change your chinas, but you can refresh them”. Old age homes have never been the same since “Nothing Like Mahala”… And he provided the necessary gravitas as Rivonia trialist Elias Motsoaledi in ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.
“So the synergy is clear,” says CEO Petrus Bosman. “Both of us and our families are passionate about our roots, both family and African. We both strive to live healthy, productive lives and make a constructive impact on our wider communities. But we also appreciate art and beauty and culture and their importance in enhancing our lives and the lives of others.”
Thapelo is specifically involved in the launch of the Bosman Nero. This is a red grape that originates from Sicily. Petrus found the varietal on a trip there in 2004 when he visited this volcanic island off the coast of Italy. He picked that place because it has a similar climate to that of Wellington and he was in search of a grape that could naturally withstand heat and drought.
It took many years fighting through a morass of red tape, nurturing the cuttings in the laboratory, propagating the vines in the nursery and finally planting out a vineyard on their farm, before they were able to harvest the grapes and start making a wine.
This is truly a robust, resilient wine grape variety that can withstand the heat and drought yet produce a refined, complex and elegant wine. It points the way to new and innovative ways of making wine on the southern tip of Africa, punching through our self-imposed limitations and setting a new standard for quality and excellence.
The story of the rise of the Nero is both inspiring, unconventional and innovative, as is their collaboration with Thapelo Mokoena, who came into this world unconventionally and is as determined to make his mark on it. Stay tuned to watch this show unfold. ….To be continued