Bonnievale Wines celebrated its 10th anniversary. The occasion served as a poignant reminder of the challenges and benefits that come with the choice of moving on a new path. The past 10 years that have seen Bonnievale Wines become one of the country’s largest producers were lauded by Rico Basson, MD of industry body VinPro, who was the guest speaker at the event.
Formally established on 1 November 2006, Bonnievale Wines created through the three-way merger of the Bonnievale, Merwespont and Nordale co-operative wineries. Appointed to lead the new phase as chief executive officer was John Barnardt, a financier from the banking sector whose reputation preceded him. In hindsight, current Bonnievale Wines board chairman Anton Smuts said Barnardt proved to be the ideal captain for their ship.
In marking the 10th anniversary, Rico Basson related a few key success factors. He noted that the wine industry was changing to meet challenges through innovation in marketing and management. He said while plans are good, sentiment, ego and fear were some of the largest obstacles. “Start by drawing a younger generation into boards,” he said. “A culture of excellence has been created. In this way, it established what is measured and how to evaluate it constantly. The nucleus should be the performance-driven, customer-centred, development of staff while board members should be assigned portfolios and held accountable.”
Joint ventures are important for the future of the industry, Basson said, adding that collaboration need not only occur in times of crisis, but also in pursuit of opportunity. “Choose partners that bring something else to the table than what you have, as Bonnievale Wines did with its strategic partnerships in other grape producing areas. “Bonnievale Wines built relationships with potential buyers and role-players in the value chain. It may take time, but that’s how trust is achieved. Basson said Bonnievale Wines had successfully “
He said thought leadership allows a business to stay in touch with the national and international marketplace while participation at industry events allow you the opportunity to follow up and dig deeper. “Bonnievale Wines has shown how valuable it is for a company to constantly interrogate its own way of thinking,” he said.