Bloemfontein - A South African wine series with a Zulu connection was a good seller at a food and wine festival in Qingdao, one of China’s wealthiest cities.
King Goodwill Zwelithini's Bayede! wines are an exclusive series representing the best South African varieties. "Bayede" means "Hail to the King" and the brand name was started in 2008 by the Zulu king and local business people.
The Bayede wine series sports names like "King Goodwill Shiraz 2006", and "Queen Thomo Sauvignon Blanc 2010".
Apart from wines, the series also features beadwork, linen, hand-woven shirts, organic soap and handbags – all endorsed by the royal logo.
The linen will go on sale in the Wetherlys interior decorating stores later this year, and several foreign retailers are interested in some of the products, according to Bayede chief executive Antoinette Vermooten.
In Qingdao members of the Zulu royal family attended the launch of the wine series, organised by South African agricultural group BKB and the Qingdao Haiyu winery.
It was the first food and wine festival to be held in that city, a well-known Chinese holiday resort, as well as the home of China’s foremost beer, Tsingtao.
The Chinese have expressed great interest in Zulu culture and history and there is a growing awareness of South African wines, said Riaan Meyer, who markets the wine on behalf of BKB and organises sales in China.
Meyer said this interest had been stimulated by the exposure South Africa enjoyed in China following the successful presentation of the World Cup soccer tournament, as well as South Africa’s admission to the Brics countries, of which China is an important member.
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