Pick n Pay collaborates with Bellingham Wines to launch a wine range that celebrates local wine and artists

Pick n Pay has launched a new wine range in partnership with Bellingham Wines, one of South Africa's pioneering wine brands. The Masterpiece range boasts three wines and incorporates the work of two local artists on the labels.

The range has been exclusively produced for Pick n Pay customers and includes The Masterpiece 2021 Sauvignon Blanc (R100) featuring artwork by Thami Jali, The Masterpiece Chardonnay 2020 (R120) and The Masterpiece 2018 Red Blend (R150) bearing visuals by Keneilwe Mokoena.

This is the third wine collaboration Pick n Pay has launched since December 2020 and forms part of its commitment to support the local wine industry. The retailer aims to sell 25 million bottles of wine annually to bolster the industry after it suffered financial losses due to the various alcohol bans during lockdown. This will be achieved through established and new partnerships, leveraging its online delivery channels, and creative initiatives, such as this collaborative project.

The local wine industry is a significant contributor to local tourism and the economy, and The Masterpiece collaboration came at a time when South African wines needed to be celebrated.

The Masterpiece range forms part of the legacy ex-CEO Richard Brasher left behind. "The creativity in the country is remarkable – and not just amongst winemakers, but local artists too. This project put the two together to create a unique range for Pick n Pay customers," says Brasher. 

Brasher, along with the Pick n Pay wine team, worked closely with DGB, the premium South African drinks company that owns Bellingham, and Bellingham's head winemaker, Richard Duckitt, to sample the blends in early 2021.

"We believe we've produced some special wines. We wanted The Masterpiece range to be impressive, and we believe we've delivered wines that would probably be 30%-40% higher in price point," says Tim Hutchinson, Executive Chairman at DGB.

Hutchinson adds that The Masterpiece range is a symbol of South African heritage. "The images selected for the three The Masterpiece wines not only offer a striking deflection from what is normally expected from a Bellingham label," says Hutchinson. "These visuals on The Masterpiece wine labels also represent the fabric of South Africa's national soul, a soul that has been touched by the Covid-19 crisis and one where creative endeavours like art and winemaking help to sustain and lift the human spirit. Our idea behind these three wines is to celebrate the vibrance of local creativity as a part of the #SaveSAWine campaign and see the labels as representing the life-affirming and valiant South African soul."

Gavin Ievers, head of liquor at Pick n Pay, says new collaborations will be at the heart of the retailer's commitment to the wine industry, and that they plan to grow its ‘exclusively to PnP' range in 2022.

"By listening to our customers, learning what they want, and applying the latest wine trend insights, we can provide customers with exceptional wine, at the best price. In the same breath, we support more wine farms to sell greater volumes of their wine," he says.

"South Africa wines have a great story to tell, and we want to deliver this to our customers through our stores," concludes Ievers.

The Masterpiece range marks the third exclusively produced brand that Pick n Pay has launched in collaboration with local wine estates and will be stocked in nearly 200 stores. The other ranges include Jacques Steytler, which was launched in May 2021 and boasts six wines, and Jacques Mouton, a range of three wines launched in December 2019.

Inspiration behind chosen artwork for The Masterpiece range:

Thami Jali – This piece of work is a tribute to Nukain Mabuza who in the 1970s & early 80s created a Stone Garden, or `Garden of Flowers` as he liked to call it, which attracted tourists from around the world. Since his death in 1981 the garden has succumbed to the environment, and little is left of the artistic masterpiece. Jali is looking to celebrate Nukain's life and keep this important South African artist relevant and the thought was that the Sauvignon Blanc is a good representation of this work as it is floral, mineral and tropical. Jali's life and work speaks of the pain and triumph of South Africa and is intensely human and direct whilst maintaining a complex intellectual underpinning. He renders work that is optimistic and emotionally balanced. The work is beautiful, it buzzes in a way that marks it as current, contemporary, and demands the viewer's attention. The constructions are never obvious metaphors but lead us inevitably to consider the structures we've been part of for most of our lives as South Africans.

Keneilwe Mokoena – Mokoena prefaces her work with the slogan, "Microcosm to macrocosm. Mind and matter. Organic and inorganic. Everything is bound by self-similar patterns of order and chaos." In her drawings, she depicts enlarged formations of bacteria, viruses and parasites as if they have been placed under a microscope. "I like to depict the finer details of the natural world", she explains, "details which the eye doesn't immediately see". We think that this is particularly relevant to wine where there are so many fine, intricate details that never really get seen by the human eye but are beautiful and artistic, only when consumed. This could be seen as a visual representation of the artistry behind the taste of the wine in the Chardonnay and Red blend.

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