WASHINGTON DC: There's a New DC Wine in Town
Socially Responsible Vintages for Any Adventure
South Africa Meets Washington, DC
There’s a new wine in town—headquartered in Washington, DC. Cape Venture Wine Co., founded by Walker Brown and Charles Brain, has launched its new label, “Lubanzi” which is available online, at www.lubanziwines.com. It will also be available in stores and restaurants soon.
The Lubanzi label is comprised of two wines, a red blend, composed of Shiraz, Cinsault, Grenache & Mourvedre and a white, a Chenin Blanc. The wines will retail for $14.99 and hail from South Africa -- one of the world’s largest wine-producing areas in the world. Charles and Walker have lived in South Africa for nearly a year, but spent 3 months back in South Africa recently, collaborating on the development of Lubanzi with two excellent South African winemakers – Trizanne Barnard, an innovative female winemaker and Bruce Jack, a longtime South African wine legend. Lubanzi was created to be forward-thinking, socially responsible and innovative.
“South Africa is one of the world’s largest wine producers and probably the most underrated wine region of the world in the US market, and has been for some time,” Brain said. “We want to change that and we think our generation [millennials] has the openness and power to do so.”
“Our goal is to offer well-crafted, everyday wine that punches above its weight and makes a difference in the lives of those who grow it, said Brown.”The brand is tailored to not only be a well-crafted, responsibly sourced wine, but an everyday ‘sipping’ wine – a wine for small everyday adventures; because as they say, “life is everything that happens between coffee and wine.” From a midnight bicycle jaunt down a floodlit street, to dinner in an emerging part of town, or trying a new brand of wine with an exotic sounding name – these are the hallmarks of this spirit – that of adventure. Exploration is at the heart of Lubanzi – a brand that is named for a wandering dog who led the two founders on a 6 day, 100-mile hike across a remote part of South Africa called the Wild Coast.
Fifty percent of their profits will go towards The Pebbles Project, an NGO that works with low-income families who live and work on South Africa's wine farms. The Pebbles Project focuses on growing families by providing resources and improving access to health & high-quality education, allowing families to realize a horizon for success in life that extends far beyond their current view.
“We created this to bring two worlds together, craft great wine, share adventures & make a difference. At the core of our story is a message that it’s not about what makes us different, it’s about what we have in common,” Brain said.Walker and Charles both graduated from universities in the US in May, 2016 — Charles, from Vanderbilt (majoring in International Community Development), and Walker, from the University of Richmond (majoring in what was called PPEL - Philosophy, Politics, Economics & Law). During their junior years, they met each other as exchange students studying at the University of Cape Town and traveling around South Africa (Charles studied Social Work & Economics in Cape Town and Walker’s focus there was Political Science). They were both struck by their time in South Africa, fell in love with the country and the people, and became quite enamored with the wine.
Following their graduation here stateside, they decided to start a wine company, called Cape Venture Wine Co. and create their first label "Lubanzi." The name comes from one of their great adventures they had while travelling around South Africa as exchange students. They set off on a 20-hour bus ride along South Africa’s southern coast en route to a remote part of the country called the Wild Coast for a week long backpacking trip across the beautiful coastline. On the second day, a wandering dog, the locals called ‘Lubanzi’, began following them on their journey. He stuck with them throughout their adventure -- for 6 days & 100 miles -- until he disappeared on the night before their final morning.
“We want to provide a great bottle of wine that connects people with South Africa, accompanies great adventures and results in great stories,” Brown said. As long as those stories are being written, so is our mission.” “Everything about this project is cool. It has heart and soul, adventure and drama, charity and ambition, value and unbridled passion, Jack Bruce added. “Remarkably it also has two extraordinary young American men who seem to have found all of this on a wild African coast and coaxed it all into a bottle of wine.”
TASTING NOTES (by Bruce Jack)
A dark, brooding purple colour indicates this is a serious wine with impressive structure and extract. The nose is intriguing, offering huge complexity with layer upon layer of aromas – sour cherry cheesecake, freshly bruised peppermint leaf, mulberry and dark chocolate. The palate starts off echoing these aromas on the entry, but builds with more juicy black fruit. The intense black/red fruit is kept in check and balanced by an intriguing savoury note throughout the palate. Soft, but persistent, fleshy tannin and an unexpected mini-explosion of ripe, zippy blackcurrant on the finish round of an extraordinarily rewarding wine for the price.
CHENIN BLANC – 100% Chenin Blanc
A lively green colour, with hues of pale straw is the first indication this is going to be both fresh and complex. The nose offers an intriguing array of fruits - sliced November figs, ripe nectarine and freshly-peeled satsumas (we call them naartjies!). In the background is the hint of herbaceous rosemary. The palate is round and fleshy, pushing forward ripe citrus fruits like orange, nectarine again and a fresh core of green melon. There is the hint of banana bread as well. It is moreish and beautifully balanced. But the excitement doesn’t stop there – the finish is creamy and long and fresh like watermelon sorbet. Very delicious.