We chose the Lions Drift brand name a few years back but awaited the appropriate moment for introduction with a proven and tested superior product. By 2008 we had sufficiently mature vines and were enjoying large enough crops that Silkbush could supply both our client wineries and have enough grapes available for wines under our own Lions Drift label.
In the interim, so many wine labels with animals on them came out that, as a grouping, the trade often refers to them as “critter wines.” However, we don’t think many will associate the noble Lion King, emblematic of Africa, with many little critters, as cute as they may be.
Further, we were intrigued with the Dutch word “drift” on some Cape highway signs and on the label of the most popular South African brandy, Klipdrift (which literally means “stone crossing.”) When it was explained that a safe river crossing, usually shallow and underlain with stones, was a drift, it all made sense. Such safe crossings were of course used by migrating animals but were also essential to the early colonists who risked getting their wagons stuck in the mud of every stream and river crossing… unless they could find a “drift.”
Accordingly, we proudly created the Lions Drift brand as an acknowledgement of the continent and country from where the wine originated and the viticultural contributions and history of the early Dutch settlers, who first made wine at their Kaapstad (Cape Town) colony over 350 years ago.
The 2008 Pinotage, with Silkbush Mountain Vineyards on the label as “vineyard designate,” was introduced into a select few US markets in 2010. In 2012, we had substantially greater wine supplies available from the 2009 harvest so as to be able to open more US states and certain EU markets, especially in Scandinavia, and the Russian Federation.