Last week SA rugby stars Ruan Pienaar and Robbie Diack launched a brand of wine for the Northern Irish market - Ballybosch.
Robbie and Ruan had the idea of creating their own South African wine while delayed in Italy after an international match. Over a glass of red, the seeds for what would become Ballybosch wine were sown. In conjunction with Brenaissance Winery, belonging to Robbie's brother and sister-in-law Tom and Haley Breytenbach, they have produced a zesty juicy Sauvignon Blanc & a full flavoured unctuous red using Malbec, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The name Ballybosch comes from "Bally", the prefix for many towns in Northern Ireland and "Bosch" for the Stellenbosch region in South Africa, where the vineyard is situated.
Robbie Diack said, "It's been fascinating to see our idea come to fruition. As everyone knows we are passionate about rugby, but we are also passionate about wine. Both Ruan and I and really enjoy living in Northern Ireland. We have seen a lot of wines available from many countries but few from South Africa. We wanted to show that South Africa is not only good for rugby but a wonderful producer of quality wines."
Ruan Pienaar said, "Everyone we have spoken to is really excited about it. People in Belfast enjoy good food, good wine and they enjoy their rugby, so I think the three of them go together really well."
The pair are working with Direct Wine Shipments (DWS) to get their brand to market.
"We are thrilled to be working with Robbie, Ruan and the excellent team at Brenaissance, said DWS director Peter McAlindon. "Anyone that has tried the wines thinks they are fantastic. Celebrity wines often don't live up to expectation and are often overpriced. However, one of the things that really pleased us was that Robbie and Ruan knew the wine had to be very competitive and had to 'over deliver' in terms of quality for the price."
Director, Neal McAlindon said "We will only bring in new wines if we believe they add value and a point of difference to our current listings. These wines unequivocally impressed our tasting team."