Southern Right whales have been visiting the coast of Hermanus from June to November for many years. Since 1995 another Southern Right made an official annual appearance. A namesake that provides as much pleasure as the whales and also stays with us all year round even when the whales depart for better feeding grounds.
This Southern Right was the brainchild of Anthony Hamilton Russell and secured a second remarkable wine brand for a consortium of individuals.
As per the whales that are limited in numbers, Southern Right is also only available in a matching pair of wines. If you are drinking a white Southern Right it can only be a Sauvignon Blanc and a red can only be the unique South African variety – Pinotage.
Bottled Southern Right strengthens the link with its origin by donating a percentage of the proceeds from sales to the conservation of whales. Every year sees a deserving individual receiving a special award for their efforts towards conservation. A whale sculpture created by Noel Ashton symbolises gratitude for conservation in the Overstrand and is handed over at a ceremony at the Southern Right Cellar in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus.
The Southern Rights share a love for the waters of the Walker Bay. About 400 bottles of Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc are aged in the cool waters of the new harbour in Hermanus allowing barnacles to grow on the bottles just like they do on the skin of the whales. It is more difficult to estimate the numbers of Southern Right whales visiting our shores than reporting on the number of Southern Right wine being bottled.
Evan Austin of African Wings is regarded as the person that keeps the closest count on the whales as other counts are done on a day or two per year and need to adjust for duplicate counts of cow-calf pairs. It is estimated that 100 to 110 whales visited in 2013. Southern Right wines are more readily available at 14500 cases of 12 bottles each.
Southern Right whales migrate from the freezing waters of Antarctica and the Southern Right wines completed this journey with the South Africa National Antarctic Expedition to share in the experience attempted yearly by the giant mammals of the sea. Southern Right wines undertake more journeys and it is mostly shipped to America, England and Europe where lovers of South African wines enjoy it.
Southern Right whales were named because they were considered the “right” whale to kill. They yielded a good return, floated when killed and moved slowly. This association is now reversed as the whales have been protected in our waters since 1935 and the World Court ruled that Japan cannot get around the ban even for scientific reasons.
Let’s consider Southern Right wines as the right wines to drink in celebration of the increase in whale numbers.