From our van to the Sky Sports Fan Van

If you’ve been a member of our club for a while then it’s no secret that we’re very attached to our van. In fact, we celebrated our 50th anniversary by getting a replica of Tony’s first Bordeaux Direct van made.

We’re all aware of the limitations everyone’s faced over the last 18 months, and the British and Irish Lions tour is just one more thing impacted by ‘you know what’. The squad will be touring South Africa over the next six weeks, but rugby fans can’t travel to support them.

So when Sky Sports asked if we’d like to help out with their Fan Van we jumped at the chance.

Follow #FanVan on social media to stay up to date with Scott’s tour

On Friday 2nd July we welcomed former Wales and Lions player Scott  Quinnell, and his friends Legs and Bear, to Henry Laithwaite’s Marlow vineyard to launch the Fan Van tour in style.

We gave Scott, Legs and Bear a tour of Harrow & Hope and then treated them to a proper South African braai at with wines from the country to complement.

And we couldn’t send them away empty handed. We’ve loaded up the van for them with a great selection of wines (just like Tony used to do over 50 years ago) which they’ll be sharing with the fans they meet along the way.

Here’s what they’ll be enjoying at rugby clubs all across the UK …

A selection of the wines we loaded onto the Sky Sports Fan Van
A selection of the wines we loaded onto the Sky Sports Fan Van

Boschendal Chardonnay 2018

Elgin WO


Boschendal is one of South Africa’s top wineries, and they’re the official sponsors of the Springboks and The British and Irish Lions. This Chardonnay from Elgin has several awards to its name, and was even rated one of the very best Chardonnay’s in the world at a recent blind tasting.

Pair it with: We drank this wine on Friday with char-grilled lemon and garlic rubbed chicken from the braai. The acidity matched the citrus in the food perfectly but had enough body to match up to the barbecue flavours.

Boschendal Merlot 2016

Elgin WO


This smooth, sultry Merlot is also from the Boschendal Estate. This historic property, founded 330 years ago, lies between Franschoek and Stellenbosch. Careful restoration over the last decade has made it a wonderful tourist destination, as well as a terrific place to search out great wine, both red and white.

Pair it with: 18 months maturing in fine French oak has added a subtle spiciness to this silky Merlot with makes it the perfect accompaniment to the spiced meats from the braai. It would also work brilliantly with any barbecued vegetables.

Bellemore Family Selection Pinotage 2017

Stellenbosch WO


Pinotage is unique to South Africa, and Bellevue Estate boasts some of the very first plantings in the 1950s. Success soon followed with a trophy for Best Wine in 1959. 60 years on, that outstanding quality continues in this big, ripe, velvety red. Weight and warming, this red is made from the hand-picked grapes of Pinotage bush vines up to 60 years old.

Pair it with:Aged in American oak, this wine’s rich berry fruit has taken on spicy, vanilla aromas, while tannins are beautifully rounded which makes it a great match for barbecued chicken and char-grilled steaks.

Queen Bee Viognier 2021

Western Cape


For a characterful Viognier with an enticing aroma, exotic fruit, and a crisp finish, reach for Queen Bee. This bright white is made at the Mount Rozier winery in Stellenbosch. There the cool vineyards only receive natural treatments and large areas of land are left uncultivated to encourage the local flora and fauna (including the Cape honey bee after which this wine is named). This ripe pure Viognier is causing quite the buzz with customers.

Pair it with: Light salads and pasta dishes go brilliantly with our Queen Bee Viognier. The ripe, mouth-watering stone fruit and sweet spice flavours make it the perfect match.

Gorgeous Cap Classique

Western Cape


Gorgeous Cap Classique is the all-new sparkling sensation straight from South Africa. Crafted in the traditional Méthode Cap Classique style, Gorgeous Sparkling is superbly luscious in character yet refreshingly elegant and beautifully balanced. This exquisite sparkling rosé has a palate of raspberry cream, juicy strawberries and nuances of spiced peach and delicate cherry blossom. It provides a gorgeous balance between exuberance of fruit and acidity with a delightful twist of superb lusciousness. 

Pair it with: This slightly sweet sparkler is perfect for any celebration, but as a traditional method fizz it would go brilliantly with chip shop chips. Don’t believe us? Find out why here.

Also on the blog

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About Laithwaite's Wine

We’re wine nuts, not wine snobs. We’ve been exploring the world on a mission to find great wine for the last 50 years. If you love adventure as much as we do, you belong with us. We know our winegrowers like family – and in some cases they actually are. Expect to hear from these legends of the soil, see behind the scenes access into vineyards and wineries and get news on fresh finds from our travels on this page. Drink responsibly. Visit for further health information. You must be aged 18 or over to follow.

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