“Smiley” is a word used in South Africa to describe the head of a sheep, which is a delicacy to eat here as the meat is tender, rich and juicy. We chose the name Smiley for the wine as the sheep’s head is an “off-cut” of the animal, for example it is not the prime cut or the an expensive cut of meat like lamb chops or a leg of lamb but it is however delicious! The word “off cut” means it is usually discarded or thrown away and is of no use. We thought this was a funny name for a wine because we blend different barrels, tanks and experimental wine such as skin contact, Maderized wine and flor-yeast wine to make the Smiley Chenin Blanc so it is all these small “off-cuts” of wine blended together.
The label was drawn by South African artist Conrad Botes and shows the sheep’s head in bright, pop art colours. Because the wine is a Non Vintage and a blend of several years we change the colour with every bottling so people know the different bottles, for which you can find the version number on the back label.
The word Silwervis translates from Afrikaans to English as Silver Fish. In South Africa a Silwervis is a colloquial term for the silver bag in the box of cheap wine.
We thought this was a funny name for the wine as the Silwervis wines are only 900 bottles each, so anything but a large production bag-in-box wine. The vineyards are organically farmed, hand harvested and the wine is made naturally, both the Silwervis wines are single vineyard vintage wines, the blue label the Chenin Blanc and the pink label the Cinsault. The name Silwervis is also a double entendre because as you may also notice the half-fish mermaid on the label.
The label shows the devil carrying the mermaid. The devil represents the “old Swartland” where people used to farm with a lot of chemicals, pick the grapes over-ripe and didn’t take care of their land. The mermaid represents the “new Swartland” where people make wines softly, taking care in their viticulture and winemaking practices. The mermaid also signifies the change in style of Swartland wines from rich and ripe to delicate, light and fresh. The background of the label featuring the dry mountain represents the Paardeberg Mountain of the Swartland where the vineyards are based. The label was also designed by Conrad Botes and the first vintage of the Silwervis Chenin Blanc was 2011.