Explore Sideways has partnered up with wine innovator, Michael Jordaan, in order to award the top three most innovative South African wineries. The winners will be announced on Thursday December 9th at the launch of Barclay’s Rise Africa Innovation Hub located in Cape Town’s Woodstock Exchange. A series of Twitter polls determined the winners of each of the three categories: Design, Vineyard and Marketing.

And the winners are:

  • Marketing Innovation: AA Badenhorst for Capertif
  • Vineyard Innovation: Reyneke for leadership in biodynamic farming
  • Design Innovation: Black Elephant Vintners for label creativity

Innovation in Marketing

AA Badenhorst Capertif and Swaan Tonic

How have we, as Badenhorst Family Wines, delivered on innovation in marketing? Mostly by NOT marketing. By just sharing the stories of the farm, the family and the place. We simply create great products and share the stories of them with people who are genuinely, out of their own will, interested in reading / hearing and finding out more about what we are up to.

The real innovation this past year has been the revival of Caperitif and the start of Swaan Tonic. The creation of Caperitif – in product, label and story – has provided us with a whole new angle of fun and opportunities. From it’s first launch at the 2014 Swartland Revolution to creating new and recreating old cocktails with the stuff, a lot of really interesting tastings throughout the year pretty photo shoots and informative video tutorials all the way to the very successful and fun (supposedly secret) Speak Easy Bar at this year’s Revolution – we’ve all really enjoyed this new avenue! And of course we are also a step ahead in the creation of our own Cape Tonic Water – Swaan. I believe the Gin culture in South Africa is just starting to pick up now and our timing with Swaan was perfect. Less is more – our products are great and our people are genuine – and apparently it is working. We thanks for the recognition.

Brampton Wine Studio

Just over five years ago Brampton Studio opened its doors in Stellenbosch. At first it was launched as a small venue that catered for an assorted bunch of discreet and astute wine friends. But all that has changed. Tumults erupted and word of mouth spilled into the streets. Soon Brampton Wine Studio brimmed with artists, students, beatniks, and debonair executives in suits, philosophers, sexy women with revolutionary convictions, and so many more. The crowds are cosmopolitan and colourful, intellectual, bohemian, sporty and diverse. Here you can relax while sketching with on the tables. You can sip on top-notch and affordable Brampton wines while enjoying ambrosia from a pop-up enterprise called Vegabond Kitchens. Apart from the delicious wine you can taste, you can nibble on tapas or have a succulent cheese burger, you can buy wine to take home, partake in tastings, sip Brampton Cape Larger on tap, and have an aperitif before going somewhere else for dinner. The mood? Think urban chic meets rustic serenity. Here the world is your oyster and Brampton studio is the pearl inside.



At Solms Delta, the focus lies more on what we are actually doing to make a difference in the lives of our farm community, than how we market our brand. Mark Solms and British philanthropist Richard Astor, each control one third of the modern-day Delta estate. Together they have tackled the social realities of South African agriculture with maverick zeal. First they established a trust that benefits the estate’s historically disadvantaged residents and employees. Then they gave it an equal (one third) equity stake in Solms-Delta. From the profits, the farm residents enjoy new, refurbished and comfortable homes, and social programmes that have greatly improved their health, education and general quality of life. To make this three-way partnership work, Solms and Astor put their own assets on the line, reasoning that without a realistic wealth-sharing model their own privileges were both indefensible and unsustainable. This forward-looking arrangement is based on a full acknowledgment of South Africa’s painful past. The estate’s Museum van de Caab, which houses a treasury of artefacts unearthed at the estate, is a living testament to all who lived and worked there over the centuries. Solms-Delta is also supporting a musical heritage programme – Music van de Caab – that preserves and celebrates the joyous, resilient and defiant musical traditions of the Cape winelands. And, at the estate’s Fyndraai restaurant, imaginative homage is paid to the cultural melting pot of the Cape, with a mould-breaking menu that is built around fresh, indigenous ingredients from the farm’s very own culinary gardens – known as Dik Delta Fynbos Culinary Gardens.

Spier: Secret Sparkling

This year’s Secret festival saw the birth of our first Secret product. Introducing the Spier Secret Sparkling. Spier’s Jacques Erasmus, winner of the 2014 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, has crafted this brand new bubbly. With whiffs of strawberry and raspberry on the nose, the Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend’s rich honeyed palate bursts with vivacious bubbles and has a crisp, fresh finish. Serve as an apéritif or pair with strawberry sorbet or a light dessert. #spiersecretsparkling Differentiation points: Crown-cap instead of a cork. Innovative packaging. Product extension of a marketing activation called the secret festival: Spier Wine Farm #SpierSecret shares experiences and events that encourages progressive thinking around food + wine.

Innovation in the Vineyard


The Grier family purchased Villiera Wines outside Stellenbosch in 1983 and embarked on an extensive replanting of classic and local varietals. The farm has not sprayed insecticides for the past ten years and a flock of 1000 Peking ducks are responsible for some natural pest control. There is a strong focus on water conservation, recycling and a greening project (currently in progress), which entails the planting of 1000’s of indigenous trees on the farm (over 100,000 trees planted in the past 5 years). This philosophy has led to a vibrant eco-system on the farm, including huge flocks of guinea fowl and pheasant as well as steenbok, Cape foxes, grey mongooses, porcupines and the threatened blue crane that are all naturally occurring. Villiera also has a strong focus green energy. Seven buildings have already had Solar Domes installed and operate 80% of the time on natural sunlight. We investigated the options and decided to take the plunge by installing Solar Power to supply all Villiera’s daytime requirements outside of harvest time. This involves approximately 950 m2 of Solar Panels mounted on cellar roofs capable of generating 132 KW of power.


Reyneke has been farmed organically and bio-dynamically since 2000. In terms of organics the aim is to tread lightly and be as sustainable as possible. No herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers are therefore allowed on the property. Going beyond that, within the bio-dynamic approach, we try also to be as self-sufficient as possible. All water is used twice on the property and whatever cannot be recycled on the farm is recycled off the farm. In this vein we are most grateful for our herd of Nguni cattle who do an admirable job in terms of weed control and fertilizer application!


Backsberg has become the first wine producer in South Africa and one of only three in the world to gain Carbon Neutral status by sequestrating its carbon emissions. Proprietor, Michael Back, who joined the family business in 1976, is passionate about the environment, believing that each generation is the custodian of the land for a limited period of time only. “Care for the environment means care and concern for succeeding generations. As custodians of the land, it is our duty to understand and recognise potential threats, and to mitigate against them for the benefit of the next generation,” says Back whose forward thinking has already rescued several plant species from extinction by reserving 10% of his land for non-development and preservation of the endangered “Fynbos” biome.

Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB)

Wholesale wine producer Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB) is installing a solar plant that will take its largest production plant off-grid. Installing an 800kW photovoltaic solar power plant at its Wellington production facility would reduce electricity costs, stabilise production and improve marketability. Also, DGB will be able to sell back to the Drakenstein municipality, which includes Wellington, any excess power. This is rare in SA. and at Franschhoek Cellars. DGB is one of SA’s largest wine producers and owns the Boschendal, Bellingham, Franschhoek Cellar, Douglas Green, Brampton and Wellington wineries.

Design Innovation

BLANK Bottle

In 2004, a lady came to my house (then also my office) to buy wine. She asked for anything but Shiraz. “I don’t drink Shiraz”, were her exact words. I poured her a glass of wine. She loved it and bought 3 cases. It was a straight Shiraz. It’s a fact – we do judge the book by its cover.

When I started BLANKbottle, my goal was to create an honest wine brand that had no limitations when it came to style, vintage, area or cultivars in order to break down any preconceived expectations. Having no indication of cultivar on the bottle makes this possible. Not only does it demand complete honesty when it comes to quality, but it allows me the opportunity to introduce once-off limited runs of interesting wines. Its flexibility turned out to be BLANKbottle’s edge. A brand for someone with an open mind and an adventurous heart.

Black Elephant Vintners

The labels capture and celebrate the character and personality of each blend, with each wine becoming a performance on its own. The company, the people and its wines are strong in character and personality. The overall result is a wine performance that is unique and not necessarily repeated – a wine performance that is unplugged.  By eliminating the pomp and pressure commonly associated with wine and applying their raw passion, they created a range of wines with unique character that appeals to different desires, tastes and occasions – wine for real people.


Protea Wines

In addition to its beauty, the protea bottle offers the ultimate in “green” utility; the inks are heavy-metal free and the bottle is made to be reused – for floral displays, to hold olive oil, or as a beverage container.

More about the Cape Town Rise Innovation Hub:

Barclays links Africa to a global community, pioneering the future of financial technology through open innovation.
Barclays is opening up its resources, talent and 325 years of trusted expertise through Rise. This global platform will tap into the world’s most active innovation ecosystems through physical and digital platforms. Supporting and facilitating interactions between startups, corporates and innovators, Rise will provide access to this global community, co-working space, world-class events, state-of-the-art resources, access to the Barclays network and expertise, and the Barclays Accelerator programmes.
The Cape Town Rise Launch follows in the footsteps of Innovation Hubs in London, Manchester and New York, and is the first Rise Africa Innovation Hub. The launch will include international VIP speakers, entertainment and a cocktail event.
The afternoon will kick-off with the Tech Lab Africa Demo Day, a showcase of several fintech and healthtech ventures comprising Barclays’ Accelerator in partnership with Tech Lab Africa – an intense three-month programme designed to discover, nurture and empower the next generation of financial services and health information technology innovators in Africa.