I was invited for the launch of Kunjani Wines’ new label release consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. If you have been fortunate enough to have visited the tasting room in the past, you may have been blown away by the truly unique architecture and interior design. Kunjani’s interior was created by Pia Watermeyer and the iconic Haldane Martin and it is this architecture that is reflected on the new labels.
Kunjani means “Hi, how are you” in Zulu and this is what started Kunjani Wines in November 2017.
A gesture that symbolises a greeting between friends and a simple yet clear message on a wine label that invites people to enjoy the good life! This is what Kunjani Wines wishes to convey to all and sundry with their newly designed and updated wine labels.
These are the original labels:
“At Kunjani we are all about greeting guests with a warm welcome, and the hands on the label represent a greeting between friends. Kunjani means ‘Hi, how are you?’ and that is exactly how friendships start,” says Pia Watermeyer, Kunjani’s co-owner.
Kunjani Wines is a new boutique winery high up on the Bottelary Hills outside Stellenbosch where good food, fine wine and luxurious accommodation combine to truly reflect the good life … and the true character of this spectacular place where love and passion are reflected in every creation.
Kunjani’s New Wine Labels
But one is never too young to renew and innovate! After various awards for its wines and rave reviews for the restaurant and architectural design of its tasting room and restaurant, it was decided to bring the labels of the wines in line with the upmarket character of the facilities at Kunjani. The well-known design studio Haumann Smal was approached and new labels were designed.
The brief was to upgrade the existing labels into a more contemporary, sophisticated and timeless look. Paul Barth, Pia’s husband and co-owner, wanted to retain the two hands (one male, one female) doing a “fist bump” which symbolises a greeting, while Pia wanted to incorporate the architectural elements and colours of the building and restaurant. The new labels are printed in charcoal with a glossy high build to contrast with the matt paper.
The element of the two hands, redrawn in a graphic line work style, is placed in a small oval to be used on its own or as part of the logo and brand mark.
How did this latest edition to the Stellenbosch Wine Route come about? A chance encounter brought together a German entrepreneur, Paul Bath, and Pia Watermeyer, a South African businesswoman. Their relationship has proven that with fine wine and good food, even language and culture barriers can be overcome.
“We believe wine is a universal language,” explains Pia. “Nothing builds a relationship, and keeps friendships going, like sharing a bottle of fine wine and excellent food. And we offer both here at Kunjani.”
Paul, however, is more than just an entrepreneur. He hails from the Rheingau wine region of Germany and both his father and grandfather were winemakers. As a child he helped with the harvest every year, so coming to South Africa and establishing his own wine brand on his own “piece of heaven” was a dream come true.
Winemaker – Carmen Stevens
The award-winning winemaker, Carmen Stevens, is responsible for creating Kunjani’s wines. Carmen graduated from the Elsenburg Agricultural College near Stellenbosch in 1995, becoming the first black winemaker in South Africa. She joined Distell as assistant winemaker for the Zonnebloem brand. Later she took on the role as winemaker for Distell’s new Tukulu brand, a black empowerment project.
Two award-winning top 10 Pinotages, a stint in California and representing Tukulu abroad was followed by a period at Welmoed for Stellenbosch Vineyards. Then she spent 8 years at Amani where she won the 2008 Decanter Red Bordeaux Varietals Trophy for her Amani Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2006.
Today Carmen utilises Kunjani’s very own shiraz grapes and sources other varieties used in the estate’s wines. “We are very meticulous about where and from whom we buy grapes,” says Carmen. “Quality is of utmost importance as we strive to always put the best in every bottle of Kunjani wine.” The merlot and cabernet sauvignon vineyards adjacent to the property are managed by the team at Kunjani, providing a hands-on approach for all red wines in the portfolio.
Kunjani has only 2½ hectares under vine, all shiraz, while Carmen also has access to nearby cabernet sauvignon and merlot vineyards. The estate’s Riesling is imported from Germany’s Rheingau region.
Kunjani Restaurant’s menu is curated under the watchful eye of head chef Lamek Mnisi, who has been at the helm of the Kunjani kitchen since it’s opening in 2017. Not only does he look for high quality ingredients and innovative ideas when creating each season’s menu, but he continually renews the menus so that regular patrons always find a new dish that will surprise them when visiting the estate.
In line with their philosophy to only source seasonal ingredients and the very best fresh produce, Kunjani has streamlined their menus to reflect their passion for locally sourced, fresh, wholesome and healthier food options that are sustainable. By sourcing only locally grown produce, the restaurant aims to act responsibly towards the planet and its natural resources and reduce its carbon footprint. As a result, they only source fish from the green list of South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI).
Kunjani’s accommodation consists of four private, self-catering villas with stunning views – Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet and Stolen Chicken. Shiraz and Stolen Chicken can sleep up to four people, while Merlot and Cabernet each accommodates two guests. The villas are conveniently close to Stellenbosch and Cape Town and surrounded by vineyards. They are fully equipped and include luxuries such as washers and dryers, coffee machines, wall-panel heating, air-conditioning, smart TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi and private, shaded verandas with braai facilities.
Architecture and Interior Design
To top it all, Kunjani has been included in Architectural Digest’s list of “Top 19 Best Vineyard Designs Around the World”. Architectural Digest Magazine is the online authority in design and architecture, providing an exclusive view into the world’s most beautiful homes and designs.
“The building’s design puts a modern twist on Cape Dutch architecture with its charcoal exterior and red sliding screens, which were inspired by the patterns painted on West African mud huts. The interiors are equally daring with a laser-cut staircase and wine display, graphic wallpaper, and bright red accents,” writes the magazine’s Alison Levasseur and Elizabeth Stamp.
Kunjani’s interior was created by Pia Watermeyer and the iconic Haldane Martin. As a designer, Haldane has been instrumental in the emergence of a new South African design language and identity. He successfully transformed Pia’s concept and brand essence into an innovative, stylish and soulful interior with a unique character. This includes custom fittings, luxurious finishes and unique furniture as well as selected artworks by local artists Krisjan Rossouw and Peter Pharoah.
For more information, visit www.kunjaniwines.co.za