About Kumala Wines
Kumala was the first South African brand to put the country on the map, in the UK, in terms of approachable and affordable wine styles. It’s now the 12th largest brand in the UK, and the second largest South African brand. Created in the early nineties, by a family company, it catapulted South African wine onto firstly the UK, and then the international scene, with a wide range of still and sparkling wines.
South Africa is now the 5th in the leader board of sales by country in the UK, and accounts for about 6% of total volume.
Kumala is a brand that was created in the early nineties by a small, private owned English wine importer, with property interests in South Africa. From small beginnings, the Kumala brand took the market by storm, coinciding with the wave of success that Australian wine brands were enjoying.
At that time, South Africa was just beginning to emerge from the years of Apartheid, and only a few wines, predominantly from the state controlled KWV winery, were available in the UK, mainly in restaurants and in specialist off-licences. These, in themselves, were hardly suited to the modern styles, which were being increasingly needed for the UK market.
The Kumala brand was positioned firmly as a range of modern style wines, with many similarities to the styles of wine emanating from Australia at the same time – fruit driven, juicy, ripe, approachable. It was also, somewhat uniquely, targeted purely at supermarket distribution, and it was here that it began to make its mark; with little competition at that stage, it was the beacon that led the way for the numerous South African brands that occupy the wine shelves today.
The company sent over international winemakers to define and set up new vineyard management practices, and work on styles of wines, previously unknown in South Africa; at that stage, it was very much a journey of discovery, at every single stage of the process.
Kumala was also one of the first brands to adopt the now infamous ‘critter’ label, a name now commonly given to wines who use various animals, as the symbol for their label, in this case the Kumala lizard!
From its small origins, the Kumala brand has grown into a multinational success, and now produces a wide range of wines, from all of the key wine producing regions in the Cape, from Stellenbosch, and Paarl, to Worcester and Robertson, and right up to Lutzville, in the more northern Olifants River area.
What Styles Of Wine Do Kumala Produce?
Kumala produces a wide range of wines, all from South Africa, under different names, or sub brands, to bring the best of their styles to the UK. The style is generally smooth, fruity with lots of upfront fruit and a soft, refreshing finish.
Kumala Cape Classics – a fruity, easy drinking, and affordable introduction to the Kumala brands, with a fruity, lively white, juicy rose, and soft, ripe red.
Kumala Western Cape – the core range from Kumala, produced from various regions within the Cape, depending on the style and grape variety. The wines, with the exception of the solitary, fruity Rose, are all dual varietals, and include 5 whites and 5 reds. The whites range from crisp and zesty Sauvignon Colombard, Colombard Chardonnay and Chenin Chardonnay, to the fruity styles of Chenin Viognier and Chardonnay Semillon.
The reds are also varied in style, ranging from the bright, fruity Merlot Ruby Cabernet, and Merlot Pinotage, through to the bolder, spicier, rich flavours of Shiraz Mourvedre, Cabernet Shiraz and Pinotage Shiraz.
Kumala Zenith – the Kumala Zenith range came into being a few years ago and comprises just 3 wines, all focussed on delivering up front, juicily fruity and easy drinking wines, with ripeness and flavour. The range comprises a zesty Chenin Chardonnay, a red berry scented dry Rose, and a soft, ripe, smooth Merlot Cabernet Shiraz.
Kumala Eternal – Kumala Eternal is another range of 3 wines, with different blends, from the range, and comprises a vibrant Pinotage rose, an apricot and peach scented Chenin Chardonnay, and a real crowd-pleaser the round, ripe Merlot Cabernet Shiraz blend.
Matching Kumala Wines With Food
The Kumala range of wines covers many different styles, but overall, they are fruity, upfront styles that go with most types of food. Here are some suggestions:
Chenin dominated blends – the traditional white grape variety used in South Africa, the wines are fresh and very fruity – great with pork with apple sauce, fish with ginger and garlic and barbecued chicken.
Chardonnay dominated blends – the rich, tropical fruit flavours work well with buttery roast chicken, creamy fish dishes, and soft cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc and Colombard dominated blends – fresh, zesty, with very fruity, vibrant flavours, these refreshing wines work with seafood, Indian and Chinese dishes, and fresh salads, such as goats cheese or tuna.