City Press newspaper reported on Sunday that the parent company of the wine estate, Douglas Green Brands, announced on Friday that it would be undertaking a rebranding strategy to scrap all historical references to the British mining magnate-turned-imperialist politician.
The decision follows fierce hostility towards Rhodes’ legacy in South Africa and the UK, which saw several protests under the banner of #RhodesMustFall.
Between March and April last year, students at the University of Cape Town successfully protested to have the Rhodes statues removed from campus.
Students at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape also protested against their university’s institutional memorialisation of Rhodes, demanding that the name of the university be changed.
The protests spread to the UK in July 2015 where students at the prestigious Oxford University called for the removal of Rhodes’ statue, a fixture at the university for over a century.
CEO of Douglas Green Brands, Tim Hutchinson, told City Press that the decision to drop the name was more complex than being a reaction to the #RhodesMustFall campaign.
“We had just begun to develop a replacement for our top-end range when the #RhodesMustFall campaign started. This probably only verified [that] our decision to move on had even less risk.”
According to City Press, Boschendal had named their top-end Shiraz wine after Rhodes to honour his intervention which saved the 300-year-old wine estate from ruin.
In the mid-1890s, the Groot Drakenstein Valley, where Boschendal is situated, was plagued by a louse infestation, resulting in a devastating agricultural crisis that left the valley bankrupt.
Rhodes stepped in to provide funding for a recultivation scheme for the area, buying out many of the historical farms and amalgamating them into Rhodes Fruit Farms.
This year’s vintage, the 2013 Cecil John Rhodes Shiraz, will be the last to carry the name.