Niël Groenewald, Bellingham winemaker and Stephan Joubert, viticulturalist.

The Bernard Series by Bellingham takes Double Gold at Monde Selection
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A new label from Bellingham, one of the premier wineries owned by DGB, made an auspicious entry onto the 2009 wine scene by winning two of only five gold medals awarded to South African wines at this year's Monde Selection International Wine Contest in Belgium held in April.

The Bernard Series by Bellingham, a range evolving from its Maverick label and named after Bellingham founder Bernard Podlashuk, saw two of its wines achieving gold: The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2006 and The Bernard Series Small Barrel S.M.V. 2006.

Over 1,600 wines from 70 countries entered this year's Monde Selection, one of Europe's prestigious wine competitions.

"Two gold medals at the Monde Selection is quite a manner in which to introduce a new label!" says Niël Groenewald, Bellingham winemaker.

"The gold won by these two wines in The Bernard Series is especially rewarding, as over the past year Bellingham's white wines - especially our Chenin Blanc - have been in the spotlight after winning various awards on the local and international stage," he says. "To have two red wines now coming to the fore underscores Bellingham's focused commitment to premier winemaking processes and the diverse spectrum of quality fruit planted to specific sites throughout the Western Cape."

The Bernard Series is named after Bernard Podlushak, the colourful and legendary raconteur who took ownership of the Bellingham wine farm after moving to Franschhoek in 1943. Despite his larger-than-life image, Podlushak was a visionary self-taught winemaker who introduced various new cellar practices and wine styles to South Africa.

Niël says that - unlike what Podlushak was prone to do! - he didn't take any chances when making The Bernard Series wines that won gold medals at the Monde Selection.

"Good fruit, attention to detail and patience - that's about it," says Niël. "The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2006 was the result of an excellent Shiraz year, which saw the fruit evolve magnificently over 18 months in French oak.

"The Small Barrel S.M.V. 2006, a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Viognier, continues with the Shiraz theme. And it really is rewarding to have two wines recognised in the Shiraz category, which is always the most fiercely contested one of any wine competition."

The Bellingham St. Georges 2006, a red blend in the winery's Legends Collection, was awarded South Africa's only silver medal at this year's Monde Selection.


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