A South African winery is aiming to revolutionise the wine-making industry by using indigenous Rooibos wood to produce a healthier wine with no preservatives. Hayley Platt reports.
It looks like wine, it smells like wine. That's because it is. There's just one difference. Rooibos wine is made using the indigenous wood of the same name to lessen the need for nasty preservatives like sulphur dioxide. Grapes are processed using rooibos wood chips instead of traditional oak. It's aimed at capturing the health-conscious wine connoisseur. South Africa's Audacia Wine is hoping to revolutionise the industry with its tasty tipple. Trevor Strydom is co-owner of Audacia Wine. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TREVOR STRYDOM, CO-OWNER, AUDACIA WINE, SAYING: "I see it being drunk all over the world, we registered the patent in 83 jurisdictions worldwide, we are already exporting the wine to China and it definitely will be drunk all over the world." Rooibos has been the source of a popular tea in South Africa for centuries. In the past decade it's become popular with consumers around the world. Dawie de Villiers is the MD of Cape Natural Tea Products. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAWIE DE VILLIERS, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CAPE NATURAL TEA PRODUCTS SAYING: "Roughly half the rooibos crop is exported the rest is consumed on the African continent of which the vast majority would be in South Africa. South Africa being the biggest rooibos consuming country in the world." The new technique has been especially good for organic wine makers. Antioxidants are extracted from the Rooibos wood during fermentation. Audacia's wines are not completely free of sulphites. But they are significantly reduced. And the minister of economic opportunities believes it could have a healthy impact on the economy too. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALAN WINDE, MINISTER OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES, WESTERN CAPE GOVERNMENT, SAYING: "It's going to have definite effects on the global market because the market looks at competitors and especially not having to add sulphur. There's a huge advantage to the process and that changes the brand, it gives you a new brand that the health conscious world looks at." Rooibos wine maybe a healthier option to a regular bottle of plonk. But buyers beware, it does still contain alcohol.