Shoprite and Checkers have a new wine range that will help get the country’s wine industry back on its feet. Image: Jep Gambardella/Pexels

SA retail group’s exclusive new wine range to help struggling winemakers

Shoprite and Checkers are introducing a quirky new wine range to give the country’s struggling wine industry a welcome boost.


Shoprite and Checkers have a new wine range that will help get the country’s wine industry back on its feet. Image: Jep Gambardella/Pexels

Shoprite and Checkers have called the new wine range Elephant’s Cousin. The range offers South Africans an opportunity to help support an industry that has faced great hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, liquor bans and lockdowns.

The retail giant has bought more than 1.5 million litres of wine from South African farms since the beginning of lockdown more than a year ago. This was done in a bid to help ease the tremendous burdens brought on by the pandemic.

The wine that was bought up is being used to make the new wine range, and will also be used for Shoprite and Checkers’ other private label wine ranges such as Oddbins.

Farms stuck with huge volumes of wine

Many South African wine farms are sitting on massive wine volumes due to global import and export restrictions, a struggling local economy and multiple COVID-19-induced liquor bans.

Without a route to market, the knock-on effect of all this unsold excess wine would have had a devastating effect on an already struggling industry. The South African wine industry employs about 350,000 people and contributes almost R10bn to the local economy.

The reason behind the purchase of the wine was to help wine farms move their surplus stock more rapidly and hopefully inject some life back into the industry, which is slowly clawing its way back from the brink of disaster — hence the new wine range.

New wine range named after tiny Cape animal

According to Johan Lochner, head buyer of wine and liquor for Shoprite Holdings Ltd, the group saw a fantastic opportunity to provide its wine-loving customers with an exciting new wine range that also offered excellent value.

The new range has been called Elephant’s Cousin in honour of a small Cape animal that is, suprisingly, closely related to the African elephant.

In fact, the dassie or small rock hyrax is the closest living relative of the African elephant. Its large feet and teeth, and unusual looks, make it the perfect ambassador for this new range that reflects uniqueness creativity, and exceptional quality.

Shoprite and Checkers hope the brand will stand out because of its quirky branding and competitive price point.

Elephant’s Cousin range to include several varietals

Wines in the Elephant’s Cousin range include a sauvignon blanc, merlot and shiraz. Selected for their unique flavour profiles and easy drinkability, the new wine range will be available in Checkers supermarkets, as well as at Shoprite and Checkers LiquorShops, from April.

The Elephant’s Cousin range will continue to be produced for as long as there are large quantities of surplus wine available. The exact origin of the wine for the Elephant’s Cousin range, as with the supermarket’s popular Odd Bins range, will be kept secret to ensure the wines stay affordable and easily accessible.

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