75 Years of Fond Wine Mem­o­ries

SLOW Magazine - - Must Go -

Dou­glas Green Wines, one of South Africa’s old­est and most beloved wine brands, is cel­e­brat­ing 75 years at the fore­front of South African wine. Founder Dou­glas Green was a pioneer of the lo­cal in­dus­try. He started his iconic wine business in the Boland town of Paarl in 1942, paving the way for the clas­sic yet con­tem­po­rary wine brand as we know it to­day – an en­dur­ing favourite in le­gions of lo­cal house­holds.

The Dou­glas Green fam­ily wine­mak­ing legacy has its roots in Cape Town dat­ing back to 1842. Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fore­fa­thers, Dou­glas Green Snr had a pas­sion for mak­ing ex­cep­tional wines. Af­ter study­ing at Elsen­burg Agri­cul­tural Train­ing In­sti­tute in Stel­len­bosch, he per­formed mil­i­tary ser­vice in World War I and later con­tin­ued his stud­ies in France and Al­ge­ria. Upon his re­turn to the Cape, Dou­glas em­barked on an ex­tra­or­di­nary wine­mak­ing jour­ney.

Dou­glas Green was a vi­sion­ary, truly ex­cep­tional vint­ner, as wells as an en­tre­pre­neur. He started his com­pany at a time when ne­ces­si­ties such as fuel, trans­port, bot­tles, corks, and wine ma­chin­ery were in short sup­ply due to wartime aus­ter­ity mea­sures. Even pa­per was hard to come by and la­bels had to be re­duced to stamp-sized scraps. Even in the face of these sig­nif­i­cant ob­sta­cles, he knew that South African con­sumers were thirsty for ex­pe­ri­ence than the time.

He used his deep-rooted knowl­edge of the Winelands and ties with lo­cal farm­ers to source and vinify the best grapes from the re­spec­tive wine re­gions – a rev­o­lu­tion­ary concept at the time. His wines re­flected the best qual­i­ties and char­ac­ter­is­tics of each grape va­ri­ety and re­gion, and he of­fered it to a loyal, ever-grow­ing base of con­sumers. He quickly earned a rep­u­ta­tion for de­liv­er­ing con­sis­tent qual­ity at an af­ford­able price. This would prove one of the main rea­sons why Dou­glas Green Wines grew to be­come a well-loved main­stay for many gen­er­a­tions of South African fam­i­lies.

His son, Dou­glas Green Jnr, first gained his work ex­pe­ri­ence within the broader wine in­dus­try for a num­ber of years be­fore join­ing the fam­ily business. He has many fond mem­o­ries and en­ter­tain­ing sto­ries of work­ing along­side his fa­ther in the win­ery.

Times have cer­tainly changed since those trail­blaz­ing early days of the wine business, and to­day Dou­glas Green’s wine­mak­ing and viti­cul­ture teams use lead­ing edge tech­nol­ogy to en­sure that the stan­dard of the wines con­tin­ues to ex­ceed con­sumers’ ex­pec­ta­tions. What hasn’t changed how­ever, is the win­ery’s close re­la­tion­ships with its sup­plier grape grow­ers. These long-stand­ing part­ner­ships en­sure that Dou­glas Green wines still re­flect the same sense of place a bet­ter wine-drink­ing they were of­fered at its found­ing fa­ther en­vis­aged, and also con­tribute to the fam­ily feel that has be­come such an im­por­tant hall­mark of the brand.

Dou­glas Green wines are con­sis­tently recog­nised for their ex­cel­lence. The Dou­glas Green Chardon­nay 2017 has ex­panded on the suc­cess of its cov­eted Chardon­nay du Monde 2016 award by tak­ing home a rare dou­ble-gold ac­co­lade at the re­cent Michelan­gelo In­ter­na­tional Wine and Spir­its Awards.

The Dou­glas Green range con­sists of a num­ber of ex­cel­lent va­ri­etal white, red, rosé, and blend wines – the founder was known as a master blender – and lately the team has gone to Spain to source an award-win­ning line-up of Sher­ries. These el­e­gant dessert wines are made in the tra­di­tional home of Sherry, namely JerezXérèz in Spain, made and ma­tured us­ing the age-old Sol­era method.

Decades af­ter the orig­i­nal Dou­glas Green launched his fa­mous win­ery, his affin­ity for the vine­yards, tech­ni­cal wine­mak­ing skill, and un­canny un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomers’ de­sires con­tinue to be the foun­da­tion on which the brand is built. It re­mains an au­then­tic South African suc­cess story that res­onates with lo­cal wine lovers.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.dgb.co.za. Text & Images © Dou­glas Green Wines

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