Waitrose is exclusively launching a new South African wine brand, Great Heart.

The brand, which has been developed by Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines and its employees, will launch exclusively this week in Waitrose (via its website and in stores).

Great Heart Wines is a staff empowerment project created by Mullineux & Leeu wineries. The project, which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of those who work for the company as well as their families, was conceived during the first South African lockdown last year – when an export and domestic sales ban was put in place – and the wine brand is collectively owned by the winery staff. Profits from all sales under this label will go directly to them. The staff will receive their first dividends from Great Heart sales in May this year. 

The first two wines from this venture are the vibrant and textured Great Heart Swartland Chenin Blanc (£14.99) and elegant and spicy Great Heart Swartland Red blend (£14.99)

Victoria Mason, South African Wine Buyer at Waitrose, said: “We all know how difficult the last year has been, especially for our wonderful producers in South Africa and anything we can do to help the industry is incredibly important to us. These wines are particularly special to me personally and the whole John Lewis Partnership, as they share our same core values as our co-owned business. We are so excited to be able to offer our customers two new fantastic South African wines.’’

Founders Chris and Andrea Mullineux had been thinking how they could reward and uplift their dedicated and hardworking team and lockdown galvanised the idea of starting a wine brand that was collectively owned by their employees. 

Andrea Mullineux said: “To thank our employees who have shown commitment, we have made those who have worked for our winery for two years shareholders of Great Heart Wines. They will directly benefit from the sales of Great Heart. The pursuit of the greater good, especially in business, is not a given, but it’s one that rings louder and truer for us with each passing moment,” 

Chris Mullineux said: “Great Heart is our way of addressing an array of important issues in our industry today. A heartfelt thank you to Waitrose for their belief and support for this very special project.”

The Great Heart wines are grown and produced in the Mullineux & Leeu vineyards and cellars, with the same attention to detail the team follows in everything they do, resulting in wines with a natural intensity, complexity and “a true sense of place, reflecting the characteristics of the region, as well as those who live and work there”.