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Growing sales by pairing a rosé with a flower show

South Africa’s Babylonstoren has signed a new three-year contract to be the official rosé of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. But what are the benefits?

 

Babylonstoren’s own garden, at the centre of the farm in the Cape Winelands, South Africa. Photos courtesy of Babylonstoren. Winemaking team photo: Dave Watts

Growing sales by pairing a rosé with a flower show
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2023-11-14
South African wine producer Babylonstoren’s contract with the Royal Horticultural Society – which runs the UK’s most prestigious flower show, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – has been extended for another three years.
This means the Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé will continue to be the London event’s official rosé until 2026, having started the partnership in 2020.
Charl Coetzee (below, centre), cellarmaster at Babylonstoren, said: “Our initial three-year strategy to pair our rosé with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and use the show to launch our new vintage each year has been extremely successful. Every year we see guests coming back to the stands across the show to re-start their RHS Chelsea experience and toast the show with a glass of Babylonstoren’s new vintage rosé.”

Babylonstoren - winemaking team
It’s an expensive operation, though, as the team pours 30,000 complimentary tasting samples of the rosé to 140,000 show guests at Babylonstoren’s sampling stand during the event (May 21-25, 2024). Babylonstoren also supplies products including tea, its non-alcoholic bitterlekker aperitif and olive oil for gift bags provided to RHS VIPs.
And, each year, a team of representatives flies to London from the farm in the Cape Winelands to present and pour the wine, which is launched globally on the show’s opening Monday.
But Charl explained to Canopy: “This collaboration offers us a unique opportunity for brand exposure and enables us to showcase our wine in a prestigious setting. It's a wonderful chance to connect with an audience who appreciates the beauty of nature and craftsmanship – making it a perfect fit for our rosé to bloom. This association not only enriches our wine portfolio but also resonates with the UK audience, fostering wider reach and ultimately increased sales.”
The latest vintage is also served at an exclusive rosé bar in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and is available to buy from all the bars and hospitality outlets there. Babylonstoren wines are also listed in RHS retail outlets, including RHS Wisley, a world-class garden near Woking, Surrey.
The agreement also gives Babylonstoren access to RHS media channels, including the RHS Garden magazine and email newsletters, offering extensive coverage to a range of people who share a passion for plants, gardening and outdoor spaces.
Charl added: “We admire the work that the RHS does, and gardens are in our DNA; we firmly believe they are important for education, the environment, and to show how green spaces can offer a range of benefits for mental health. And so, beyond exposure, this activation aligns with our belief in the importance of gardens, making it a natural partnership.”
Here are some photos of the award-winning Babylonstoren garden in Franschhoek, part of a resort with luxury hotel, spa, winery, and farm-to-fork restaurants. The garden is at the heart of the brand, being the first internationally accredited RHS garden in Africa.

Babylonstoren - garden 1
Babylonstoren - garden 3
Babylonstoren - garden 2
Neil Parry, head of business development at RHS, commented: “We have already enjoyed a great three-year partnership with Babylonstoren, and they have provided added value to our visitor experience whilst providing the show with some excellent content. So, naturally, we are thrilled that Babylonstoren have committed to the partnership for another three years.”
Babylonstoren is the sister property to the Newt in Somerset, the headline sponsor of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.


How the rosé is made

Babylonstoren-amphora
Babylonstoren - rose
Grapes from the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain are given minimal skin contact in the press, after which cold fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks for three weeks. The wine is racked off the primary lees and kept on fine lees for a month. Small components of the total rosé blend are fermented and matured in Nomblot cement eggs and terracotta clay amphorae.

ALC:13%
RS: 3.2g/L
TA: 6g/L
pH: 3.45

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