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Rugby stars Ruan Pienaar and Robbie Diack launch South African wine

Published:  27 November, 2014

International rugby stars Ruan Pienaar and Robbie Diack have launched Ballybosch, a Stellenbosch wine, which plays on their Northern Irish links, as both play in the province.

Rugby stars Ruan Pienaar and Robbie Diack lauch Ballybosch winesRugby stars Ruan Pienaar and Robbie Diack lauch Ballybosch wines

Pienaar has over 90 caps for South Africa, and has played in Northern Ireland for the past five years, while Diack has played for the Irish national side, as well as Ulster, where he's been based for the past seven years.

Diack and Pienaar came up with the idea for launching a wine while delayed in Italy after an international match. Diack's sister and brother-in-law own the Brenaissance winery in Stellenbosch, and having studied in the region, Diack felt a wine from there was a natural choice. He also wanted to raise the profile of South African wines in the UK, and particularly Northern Ireland.


The pair plumped for the Ballybosch name to link Northern Ireland and South Africa as Bally, coming from the Irish Baile, is a prefix for many towns in Ireland. Bosch is taken from Stellenbosch, and the wine comes from Brenaissance winery.

They chose family-run Direct Wine Shipments in Belfast as their importer and are targeting independent off-trade, but predominantly on-trade, in Northern Ireland. Expansion to the rest of the UK is also on the cards. So far the range includes a Sauvignon Blanc, rrp £8.99 and red blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz at rrp £9.99.

Diack told "It's a boutique vineyard, and is only selling cellar door in South Africa right now. They're very protective of it. The fact that we're family and overseas convinced them to go with us on the export front.

"We're hoping to go elsewhere in the UK. After the first two to three months of setting up , we'll see how the wines go - but they've really taken off on social media. The brand's really getting out there."

One container of 13,000 bottles of wine has already arrived with DWS, and it is poised to order its second.

"We need to talk about life after rugby. This is not just a short-term thing. We hope it can grow into something more," Pienaar said of the Ballybosch wines.

Peter McAlindon, joint director of Direct Wine Shipments, told "We were initially sceptical about a 'celebrity wine', but it is really good and very commercial.

"It's being made in really small quantities - but there is potential for growth as the winery is currently selling off some of its fruit."

He said there were opportunities both in the rest of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, especially now that Diack has been capped for Ireland.