What’s in a name? That which we call a wine.

…By any other name would smell as sweet? When it comes to my neighbourhood wines, names are carefully selected and a perfect representation of the vineyard, property, family and winemaker.

A wine label with a good story has my attention in equal measures to the wine.  At the Elim Wine Festival winemaker Conrad Vlok led the region’s red wine tasting and explained that most Elim wines have a maritime reference as the Atlantic is in close proximity, influences the fruit of the vines and is close to the heart of the producers. Giant Periwinkle, Black Oystercatcher, Strandveld… all obvious.  So, where does The Berrio come from?

Long before Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Table Bay Vasco da Gama cruised around the Cape to India.  He made the journey as Commander-in-Chief with his brother Paulo, one supply vessel and three ships.  One of the three ships was The Berrio.  The armada sailed from the Tagus River close to Lisbon, Portugal.  Their first sight of land was St Helena Bay on the West Coast of Africa.  From here they proceed to round the Cape and must have traveled close to where The Berrio’s vineyards are at the southern-most point of Africa. On their return from India they lost one of the three ships.  The Berrio survived and was the first of the surviving two vessels to arrive back in Lisbon on 10 July 1499.

The Berrio is the tale of three ships, a journey and survival.  A part of our history that is now honoured through a wine for which I don’t have to set sail.

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