Each of the wines at the Constantia Uitsig (approximately pronounced “Ate-Suck”) (we were there recently) just down the road comes with an associated bird.
This goes for the wines made from their homegrown grapes, e.g.:
…and the ones made from grapes that are grown elsewhere and then blended and bottled at the vineyard e.g.:
Why? Well, it demonstrates their green credentials:
Everyone working on the farm embodies a strong ethos of taking good care of animals, and everyone understands the importance of the wildlife on the farm. Constantia Uitsig is home to a wide array of indigenous birds and animals. For this reason, we have chosen to use the birds found on the farm to represent our wines, with each wine having its own bird representing it.
Bit gimmicky, perhaps, but I have no problem with wine farmers looking after the environment as much as is possible (given that they are growing grapes). I mean, let’s face it: they could be doing all this without considering the environment at all. And that would be less good.
I do have a bit of an issue with their choice of bird for the Sémillon*, though. That’s because they’ve gone for the Orange-breasted Mousebird.
And that doesn’t exist.
But not only is it on the tasting notes:
It’s also on the website:
And then they’ve doubly doubled-down on the “Show Me The Bird**” click through:
The bird in question is, of course, and Orange-breasted Sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea).
Here’s one having a bath in our back garden:
The plants in the background? No idea. I just do birds.
And that little “mouse”/”sun” difference might not seem like a big thing, but what this bird isn’t is an Orange-breasted Mousebird.
Look, they are clearly going to get away with it (and have been doing for the past n years), because their visitors mainly come from overseas, they don’t know about birds, and no-one is as nerdy as me. But this is just wrong. I could point it out to them, but they’d likely come back with something like:
“Well, yes, you’re right, but our visitors mainly come from overseas, they don’t know about birds, and no-one is as nerdy as you.”
Which are all fair points.
But it’s just wrong, and if they were to do a survey of their local bird population, then they’d find that their Orange-breasted Mousebird numbers were dramatically low. Like… zero.
Can something be described as extinct if it never even existed in the first place? I don’t think so.
As ever, I don’t expect anything to come of this blog post. But it does feel good to have got it off my chest.
Which is not orange.
* For the record, I have no issue with the wine, which is lovely.
** New York wineries must never use this approach.