Family of Nelson Mandela Begins U.S. Wine Tour in Bed-Stuy

By Paul DeBenedetto on October 23, 2013 7:59am 

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  The daughter and grandaughter of Nelson Mandela began a U.S. wine tour at Bed-Vyne on Tompkins Avenue.
House of Mandela Winery Owners Makaziwe and Tukwini Mandela
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The family of Nelson Mandela is traveling the U.S. to promote its brand of South African wines, and the first stop was in Bed-Stuy.

The House of Mandela winery, run by Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe and grandaughter Tukwini, is a South African winery the family members said was dedicated to honoring the legacy of the Mandela family.

After a 22-hour journey from South Africa that ended with a stop inside Bed-Vyne Brew at 370 Tompkins Ave. on Friday, the family talked about the importance of that legacy.

"People think my grandfather fell from the sky," said grandaughter Tukwini Mandela. "I think through the wines we are trying to tell our family story, the House of Mandela family story. Where my grandfather comes from informs a part of that."

The brand features "super-premium" wines like their Royal Reserve imprint, which includes a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz, as well as a more-affordable Thembu Collection, named after the ethnic group of the Mandelas' background.

In addition to being cheaper, the Thembu wines are fair trade: an additional charge is placed on the wines, which gets passed back to the farms to pay for education and housing, while part of the profits from the sale of all wines go to education and AIDS nonprofits.

"Because of the name we carry, we want to make sure the wineries we've chosen to produce the wines of House of Mandela [treat] their workers with dignity and respect," Mandela said. "That was quite important to us."

But while honoring their own legacy is important, the family said they also hope the wine can help build new memories for others. 

"It's really about sharing with family and friends," Makaziwe Mandela said. "Actually beginning to tell your own stories and sharing the legacy."

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