I started talking to some friends who were winemakers at smaller Wineries or made their own wines and the need just became clearer and clearer. The idea is to build up a portfolio of producers who shares the same characteristics. It is not about the region where they grow their grapes, but more about their vision and passion for their wines. During my time at Rietvallei Estate I never doubted the quality of the wines that I worked with and the Estate has an amazing history and tradition. The Estate Wines as well as John B grew amazingly well and I believe that the brands are known and pretty strong. Now it is about taking a small producer to the market and finding the correct channels to promote and sell their wines.
The landscape of the South African Wine Retail market has changed dramatically in the last couple of years, but unfortunately also the On-Trade Market. I do believe that there is a place in the market for small, unknown Top Quality producers. There are many consumers looking for something different, not main stream but good quality and it is this market segment that needs to be targeted. Working with retailers and restaurants who share our philosophy and passion is going to be tough, but I am sure we can make it.
So which wineries am I working with? Lemberg Estate (Tulbagh), Arendsig Hand-Crafted Wines (Robertson) and Vierkoppen Wines (made by Kobus Burger). None of these brands are competing at any level, but rather complimenting each other with the wines, volume produced and price points. It is important to me that I am confident with the quality produced and where they fit into the market. More importantly is that we all share the same vision, opinions on the marketplace and goals. There are a couple more wineries that I am in discussions with, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
It is going to be quite a daunting task, but something that I am extremely excited about and look forward to for 2012. We are all confident and optimistic that these brands will have great success next year and in years to come. Keep your eyes and ears open ladies and gents. You will be drinking some amazing wines in 2012.
Marketing & Brand Consultant