Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Top Quality Pinot Noir & White Blend for R60?? Stock up NOW!!!

Pinot Noir is a wine that you very rarely find under R100 on the shelf and under R200 on a wine list. Earlier this year I received a call from a grower on the West Coast, close to Lutzville, who had some grapes available after all his clients have taken their share. I immediately thought about my Treasure Hunter label and the possibility to make the wine and have a Pinot Noir available at a very affordable price. The grapes were delivered to Arendsig and Lourens helped me make the wine. It spent about 8 months in older French Oak barrels and was bottled late November. I am very happy with the outcome and that I can sell this wine directly to you for R60 per bottle. Yes, only R60 per bottle and I have 2500 bottles available. I know that the other producers to whom he supplies sell their Pinot for way over R100 a bottle. 

Pinot Noir 2013 from Lutzville 

Besides the amazing Pinot Noir I also bottled a highly rated white blend of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2012. I said that i will never bottle a Wine of Origin Western Cape wine and this opportunity actually put my principle of Treasure Hunter into practice. Both regions are clearly marked on the label with an X to show you where the grapes are from. The wine is made by a friend of mine, who will remain anonymous for the sake of his own brand, and he had 2500 bottles available for me. He sources his Semillon from Franschhoek and the Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin. This blend has scored 4.5* since the maiden vintage in 2008 and consistently scores over 90 points in Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator in the USA. Under his label this wine sells for way north of R150 per bottle, but I am making it available to you for only R60 per bottle.  
Semillon/SauvignonBlanc

We are already in the silly season, but most of you will probably only go on holiday in a couple of weeks. Those that wont't have holiday will still party like they have I am sure! There are limited stock available of these great wines so please place your order NOW. If you want it delivered to your holiday address, we can do that. 

Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2012 = R60
Pinot Noir 2013 = R60

Orders have to be 12 bottles or more for FREE delivery. Contact me on:
0824979670
colyn@colyntruter.com

Twitter:       T_hunterwines
Facebook:   Cape Treasure Hunter


Monday, September 30, 2013

What a difference some Oak makes??

I started my business about two years ago with the vision to help smaller and medium sized producers with their marketing and to grow their brands and sales. My passion has always been brand building and growing the perception of brands and I guess to a certain extent always wanted to branch outside of the wine industry. The first challenge though is to grow my wine business with a solid foundation before expanding too much. However, I started talking to a barrel cooperage from the Cognac region, Tonnellerie Baron, who was looking for representation in South Africa. I have always worked with the finished product, but this was an opportunity to also be involved with the actual winemaking process.

During September I went to visit Tonnellerie Baron in Bordeaux to learn more about the cooperage, but more importantly to also learn more about the actual barrel and the producers using it in Bordeaux. This was my first time in Bordeaux and I was excited to visit the region and see some of the producers that I only read about. In hindsight, I probably experienced Bordeaux in a way that very few South Africans ever have and I know this was a wonderful privilege.

Day 1: Visiting Tonnellerie Baron and seeing the facility where all the barrels are made. They select their own oak and bring the big oak to the cooperage where they start the whole process from scratch in their own sawmill. The quality of the barrels start with the selection of the best Oak and they are hands-on from start to finish. Tonnellerie Baron was established in the 1870’s as a supplier to the big Cognac producers, but grew their business to also supply the best Chateaux and producers all over France and other Top wine producing regions.  The whole system of machinery and layout of the cooperage was designed by one of the owners, Nicolas, an engineer by trade. Everything was custom designed to suit their needs and to optimise the cooperage and produce the best barrels every year.

Day 2: Tasting Left Bank Bordeaux
Visiting the Chateaux’s and having the opportunity to taste the 2012 vintage from barrels with the winemakers were absolutely amazing. The experience to visit these Estates, most not really open to the public for tasting, is difficult to put in words. The Chateaux's in the Medoc is impressive with amazing buildings and architecture. We tasted the 2012 vintage at the following Chateaux’s:
Chateaux Kirwan – Margaux
Chateaux du Tertre –Margaux
Chateaux Clerc Milon – Pauillac
Chateaux Du Pez – Saint Julien
Chateaux Branaire-Ducru: Saint Julien
Chateaux Gruaud-Larose: Saint Julien
Chateaux Kirwan

Chateaux du Tertre


Chateaux Du Pez
Chateaux Gruaud Larose


Day 2: Tasting Right Bank
The morning started with a barrel tasting at Chateaux Soutard. The twist here was that we had a blind tasting of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from eight different coopers, with the coopers present. The wines were lined up next to each other, the same wine but from the different barrels. I have never been involved in something like this so it was quite overwhelming, but such an amazing experience. The previous day we tasted Left Bank which is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. Here we tasted Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Right Bank from younger and older vines in different flights, twenty eight wines in total. It was very clear how superior the Merlot from St Emilion was to the Cabernet Sauvignon from this region. They dont just talk terroir they actually live and breath it...unlike us.

We tasted the 2012 wines from Chateaux Soutard with the other cooperages of which almost everyone is selling barrels in South Africa. I was familiar with most of the coopers represented there, but to taste the wines blind and in such an environment was very new to me and also extremely educational.
The afternoon we went to taste at Chateaux Faugeres which also exposed me to such an amazing proof of how strict the AOC really is. They had to build the new, very impressive and modern cellar for Chateaux Faugeres because the cellar was on the other side of the border in another Appelation and they cannot make the wine in that cellar from the grapes grown on the other side of the border.
Lastly we visited Chateaux La Conseillante in Pomerol, an old family estate since 1871 with only twelve hectares. The current winemaker is the son, Jean-Michel, and it was great to still see old families surviving the tough challenges. Again it was so eye opening to see the difference in the wines from St Emilion to Pomerol and hearing how the winemakers not only talk terroir but actually DO it. Pauline, Marketing and Sales Manager for Tonnellerie Baron, quickly informed me that La Conseillante is one of the Top and esteemed producers in Pomerol. The wines proved it and just talking with Jean-Michel about their wines and the family heritage gave me goosebumps. It also reminded me that we are very lucky to have some very old family owned Estates in South Africa and that we should do what we can to make sure we don't lose it!

Chateaux Soutard

Chateaux Faugeres
These vineyards are dividing the Appelation

St.Emilion City
St. Emilion
This experience definitely proved to me the effect the barrels have on the wine and the variation in quality of the same wine from different coopers. It is extremely important for the winemakers to make sure they are working with and using the right barrels for their style of wine and their terroir.

It has also confirmed my belief that South Africa has a long way to go in understanding our terroir and regions/appellations. We don’t yet have a true identity in our wines and many producers are just trying to push as much volume out of their cellars into the local and export markets as possible losing their USP.
Rather than focusing on the quality and distinction of their wines and drive up their price through the old economic principle of supply and demand. It’s basic, really elementary yet we don’t get it right. If you only have dry land bushvine vineyards on your property, why do you want to compete in the volume game?? If you don’t have Sauvignon Blanc on your property why do you want to go and buy in the wine from elsewhere just to have one in your range?

Another interesting fact was the age of most vineyards ranging from young to over 70 years. There are a couple of South African winemakers and Estates starting to really work with and identifying their older vineyards, but are we doing enough to promote Estate and Single Vineyard Wines? I do understand that since the nineties we uprooted a lot of vineyards with new plantings that are only now coming into their own being ten to twenty years old. This bodes really well for the future but are we going to use it to our advantage or just go ahead by pushing for as much volume as possible?? How many of our winemakers and viticulturists really know their vineyards like the back of their hand. I remember fondly how Oom Johnny Burger walked into our office one day informing Kobus that he will harvest Chardonnay in 100 days, just by looking at the stage the vineyard was in. That to me is knowing and understanding your terroir and property!!
Chateaux Mouton Rothchild

Chateaux Margaux
New Cellar at Chateaux Cheval Blanc

Working with Tonnellerie Baron will give me the opportunity to also work closer with the winemakers and helping them to give their wines a USP and a different story to tell. Tonnellerie Baron is used in some of the best and most renowned wineries in the world and I want to make sure that they are also helping our producers to make better wines more consistently!!

OXO line design and patented by Tonnellerie Baron
Besides the barrels they are constantly innovating and working on better methods and ideas for the wineries. One such an invention is the OXO-line system which helps a lot with the barrels and that fewer hands are needed in the barrel cellar.

Visit their website to learn more about them www.tonnellerie.com

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Blooming New Bloemendal Estate

Bloemendal Estate is a name and winery from Durbanville that most people should know, right? The locals will know it very well, the older wine fraternity will know it pretty well, but the general consumer probably haven’t seen a bottle of Bloemendal Estate wine around South Africa in quite some time. This is bound to change in the next six to twelve months.
Old Label of the Merlot
A conscious decision was made by the owners in 2012 to start investing in the property as well as the brand. The first priority was to appoint a viticulturist and manager who can turn around the vineyards and bring it back to full potential and production. Lombard Loubser was appointed in June 2012 to take ownership of this role. Lombard was viticulturist at highly acclaimed Stellenbosch property, Waterford Estate for nine years before joining Bloemendal Estate. With the 2013 harvest not too far away he was thrown into the deep end, but a wonderful challenge for a guy who has worked under loads of pressure before.

Phase two was appointing a winemaker that could take the wines to the next level and uphold the image of such a historic estate. Francois Haasbroek, winemaker at Waterford Estate for eight years, joined the team in January 2013 and made his first wines at Bloemendal Estate. Having worked with Lombard at Waterford they have become a very strong team and understand each other very well. Although Francois also launched his own wine range, Blackwater Wines, last year, he is fully devoted and committed to Bloemendal in revamping the wines to compete with the best.

I started working with Lombard on the revamping of the brand and marketing some time ago and all I can say is that it is going to be amazing. We are in the process of changing the packaging for the Estate as well as a more affordable range, specially made for the cellar door and restaurants on the Estate. Francois is doing his magic in the cellar with selecting only the best quality for the Estate Range which will once again feature the legendary Suider-Terras Sauvignon Blanc as the flagship white wine. The Estate range will have some consistency in terms of which wines will be there, but each vintage will be judged and decided on whether it is good enough to be bottled. The production volumes of all the wines will be smaller than usual initially, with the focus being cellar door and restaurant sales on the Estate.
Old Label of Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc
The Bon Amis Restaurant at Bloemendal Estate is going strong and also serves as the Cellar Door for now. Plans are in place to have a seperate wine tasting area in the future, but for now visitors can sit down and relax at Bon Amis which is also very child friendly. 

Every year we see new vintages launched, new blends or wines under existing labels launched, but 2013 will see the re-launch of a historic Wine Estate dating back to 1702.

There is still some older stock that we are busy clearing at the cellar door until the new wines are ready, so pop in and stock up on some great specials. A private media launch is planned for late July/early August after which we will launch the new wines for the public to come and see what all this talk is about. Bloemendal Estate will soon take back its rightful place as one of the jewels in the Cape Winelands.

Keep your eyes and ears open about the developments at Bloemendal Estate by following us on Twitter: @bloemendalwines or Facebook.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

At last I can write this blog and advertise the FIRST EVER sales opportunity of Treasure Hunter Wines. Currently I have the following wines available in limited quantities:

Chardonnay 2012 from Robertson @ R50 / R300 per case – only 400x6 available
Made from a single vineyard in the Robertson Valley, only wild yeast used and 12 months in older big French Oak casks. Amazing Tropical Fruit with butterscotch notes and rich mouthfeel.


Chenin Blanc 2012 from Stellenbosch  @ R50 / R300 per case – only 300x6 available
A batch from a 4* Platter Wine and very well known Chenin Blanc producer. Showing why Chenin Blanc is the jewel of the Cape. Beautiful Honey, Citrus notes on the nose with a very well balanced palate structured with the use of older French oak barrels.



Merlot 2012 From Robertson @ R50 / R300 per case – only 300x6 available:
The site of this vineyard is off the beaten track on the slopes of the Langeberg Mountains with beautiful concentration and slow ripening. Mint, Berry Fruit and Mocha fills this wine with smooth and soft tannins.


Shiraz 2011 from Tradouw-Highlands @ R50 / R300 per case – only 300x6 available:
The Tradouw-Highlands is situated in the Klein-Karoo and this vineyard is about 750m above sea-level with much cooler temperatures than most would expect. Loads of spice, dark chocolate and berries with great structure and mouthfeel.

This has been a dream of mine for some time now and I am very happy to share these wines with you. The wines are tasted and chosen to impress you as the consumer, not a panel of judges. However, I believe that each wine will over-deliver in quality versus price. Very soon I will also have more variation in the range of wines for you to compare and understand the same varietal from different regions.
My long term goal and dream for this brand is to have a following of consumers who cannot wait for the next Treasure Hunter Wine to be bottled. I will always do my best to produce a wine that you never would’ve had the chance to taste if it wasn’t for the Treasure Hunter!! Now let those orders come in and don’t miss out on this exciting new range of wines.

Criteria: 

  • Free delivery in South Africa for 12 bottles or more.
  • You can mix the 12 bottles i.e 3 bottles of the 4 wines
  • Delivery will only be made once proof of payment is received.
  • Send your orders to colyn@colyntruter.com or 0824979670

Friday, February 15, 2013

Treasure Hunter - My NEW Wine to Educate


After a long wait and some secretive messages I can announce that my NEW range is here and I am excited to share it with you. The name is TREASURE HUNTER and I came across this idea on a business trip
to the USA. I met Hunter Vogel who started Treasure Hunter Wines in the USA and it immediately triggered my creativity. We actually tried to do something with him from a South African point of view, but it just never took off . It stuck with me for many years and late last year I knew that now is the time to take the leap of faith and just do it. Hunter was very excited when i showed it to him and we are busy working on our first shipment to the USA! 
                                               
With the help of Lourens van der Westhuizen from Arendsig Handcrafted Wines I developed the label and idea and also tasted through various samples of wine that I wanted under this label. He is very much involved in sourcing, winemaking and storing the wines.  

So why Treasure Hunter? 
The wines in the range will never be the same and never be copied in following vintages. It is purely a search for amazing batches of wine that would never have been bottled but blended away. Most importantly it will ALWAYS focus on Wine of Origin and NEVER have WO Western Cape on the label. I have been very outspoken about this in the past and I still feel that the industry is not doing anyone any favors by shipping out container loads of WO Western Cape. South Africa doesn’t have an identity because of this and we should learn from the mistakes that other countries have made while we have the time.


Although I would like to feature lesser known growing regions I will always be on the lookout for awesome wines in every region and build relationships with winemakers from all over the Cape Winelands. In the end I would like to showcase one varietal from many regions next to each other to educate the consumer, but also the wine fraternity on what Wine of Origin actually means. 

Winemakers and Wine Snobs are so quick to blind taste and identify French, Italian, Spanish regions etc but we cannot even identify our own wine regions. That is why we lack an identity in the world market.
The wines will always over-deliver on quality and my aim is to never have a wine selling for more than R80 a bottle. You should feel that you paid more than half price when you taste the wines.

The Label?
It is a play on an old treasure map, but using the Western Cape and showing you where exactly the wine is from marked by an X. Each wine will have its own label and description whilst staying true to the philosophy behind the brand.  

The first wines in the range are: 
Chardonnay 2012 from Robertson from a specific site and 25 year old vineyard
Chenin Blanc 2012 from Rawsonville made from a vineyard more than 40 years old.
Merlot 2012 from Robertson from a site secluded in the Langeberg Mountains.
Shiraz 2011 from Tradouw-Highlands at an altitude higher than 750m above sea-level in the Klein Karoo. 

There are a couple of amazing wines waiting in the wings and I am excited about the wines that I am able to put on your table. Treasure Hunter will hopefully soon become a brand that people are looking forward to discover with me. The anticipation of new wine and new vintages should be something that you cannot wait for. I am extremely excited about this new venture and firstly would like to thank Lourens for being open and accommodating to help me with this. Secondly to all of you who has listened to my rants and opinions about the industry. Personally I have always wanted to make a difference in a positive way and hopefully Treasure Hunter can be a first small step in that direction. 

Join me on my journey to discover the Cape Winelands with my nose on the ground not in the air!!

Colyn Truter
colyn@colyntruter.com
Twitter:  colyntruter






Friday, January 25, 2013

My First Year


December 2012 was the first ‘anniversary’ of starting my own business. It was definitely not the best time of year to start a business don’t matter what industry you are in, but I had to make the best of the situation.
Luckily for me I was already setting up my portfolio of wineries and I could use the quieter times in the market to plan properly to kick things off. Needless to say, it was a lot harder than I thought and that anyone could prepare for. The biggest lesson I learnt and thankfully learnt VERY early on was to align myself with like-minded people.

  • People who understand business
  • who understand brands and brand building
  • most of all understands that success doesn’t come overnight

Without this it does not matter how good your wines are, you WON’T become a successful brand. The smaller and medium producers that I have met and in some instances worked with are great examples of why the South African Industry is in dire straits. The industry itself is responsible in a big way for our current situation and this includes producers and the trade out there.
The distribution game is pretty much a monopoly business with Vinimark and Meridian owning the biggest chunk of business. If you are not with them then your chances of being listed in retail or the majority of restaurants are extremely slim. Why? Well between the two mentioned above, plus Distell and DGB they basically buy up all the listings on Restaurant Wine lists. This is impossible you might say, but unfortunately it’s the truth. The consumer is being “told” what to drink by whoever was willing to pay for a spot on the wine list.

Although this is a generalisation it is fact for at least 80% of all restaurants. The Restaurants who distinguishes themselves from the others are those open enough to taste with the smaller lesser known producers/winemakers and know their customers are open to try new wines. They don’t want brands that are mass produced and distributed, but unfortunately these Restaurants are few and far between. The SA Market Place has a HUGE shortage of educated On- and Offtrade staff and that affects the smaller brands the most.

What are the biggest problems for the smaller producer?

  • Distribution Nationally – extremely expensive to supply private and trade customers
  • Pricing – most smaller producers don’t formulate their pricing correctly nor do they keep up to date with price increases!
  • Support from the Trade to work with smaller brands

The saving grace in many ways has been the use and activity of social media. The smaller producer can compete and build awareness via this medium at NO to very minimal cost. There has also been a growth in “self-made wine journalists and bloggers” who have done great work for the unknown smaller brands. I have always believed that the smaller producer should do whatever they can to grow a database and loyal consumer base which they can supply direct.
I have been very fortunate and lucky that friends and trade people I met over the years have been extremely supportive. They were very excited and willing to taste the wines I presented to them and in such a way have created a market around South Africa for these wines.  I have managed to open up warehousing and distribution in cities outside of Cape Town to lower distribution cost and have worked with Restaurants and Shops who can sell smaller brands because they know what they do.

The demand for handmade, smaller niche products are opening up doors for the smaller producer to create a customer base. I believe the Fresh Produce Markets and Saturday Markets popping up in cities and neighbourhoods are big contributors to this and that’s great.
My first year was a tough one no denying that. I learnt a lot about myself, but also saw a very different side of the industry that opened my eyes whilst giving me a new found energy to help smaller producers and fight for the Estate cause. I believe there are people who lives in a ‘dreamworld’ and who doesn’t really understand the realities of the industry and this is not just producers, but across the board.   

Now in year two we will build on the groundwork done in 2012, grow sale, brand awareness and most importantly a loyal customer base. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the best brands in the world were built on a solid foundation with personality, consistency and passion. All the brands in my portfolio have this and in 2013 we will take it to the next level.

Watch out for:
Arendsig Handcrafted Wines, Bloemendal Estate, Dunstone Winery, Journeys End, Mount Rozier and The Innings!!!  

The year 2013 is going to be the year of the small producer!!