Flagstone was founded by Bruce Jack as an innovative and fiercely independent label in the late 1990s. Grapes were sourced from around the country and winemaking premises were initially located at the V&A Waterfront and later moved to a converted dynamite factory on an industrial estate in Somerset West.
It seemed contrary to the Jack ethos when Flagstone was sold to Constellation, the world’s biggest wine company in late 2007, a deal which saw him remain as Flagstone winemaker but also take on responsibility for huge export brand Kumala.
Fans of the Flagstone label worried that Jack’s imaginative approach to winemaking would be compromised but they worried in vain, witness wines like Word of Mouth Viognier 2008, winner of the trophies for best Viognier and best white wine overall at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
What does seem to have suffered, however, is Flagstone’s packaging. Whereas it used to be some of the most cutting-edge around, it is now just plain bad. See Exhibit A alongside with comicbook-like line drawing of rearing steed, faux wax seal announcing “Only 70 Barrels Made” (not that small a production) and name of wine in scrawled cursive type-face. Dark Horse Shiraz 2007 is very good but its livery does it no justice. Please, Bruce, bring back the cool packaging.