A river runs through it

by | Jun 14, 2018 | News, Wineland

On Wednesday 13 June, Bonnievale Wines called together industry and media from far and wide to announce not only its  new premium range, The River Collection, but also to provide insight into its new brand identity and vision for the future.

Chairman Anton Smuts explained that more than a third of wine grape producers operate at a loss and there are around 25% less producers than a decade ago. Against this reality, Bonnievale Wines stepped up to the plate to tackle the challenges head on and reposition its brand for greater market share. This involves planting the right vineyards for future markets, says CEO John Barnardt. With more than a 100 farms in its portfolio, Bonnievale Wines has the clout and diversity to deliver exceptional wines from Bonnievale’s best vineyards, but at this scale getting the production and marketing sides singing from the same song sheet is no easy task. This is why industry and brand specialist Carina Gous has been brought on board to clinch the deal.

“The River Collection represents an important step in communicating the high quality and authenticity inherent in Bonnievale Wines,” says Carina. “In addition to having a long and excellent history of co-operation and collaboration, its winemakers have access to a vast diversity of cultivars and terroirs in unique locations.”

The River Collection proudly bears the winery’s new crest, designed by Bravo Design, Grand Prix winner of the 2018 Winemag wine label design awards.  The crest reflects their distinctive fusion of heritage and terroir, incorporating the three arches that represent the wineries who merged to form Bonnievale Wines in 2006. The pillars of collaboration and teamwork symbolically upholds the gable of heritage, bound and united by the blue ribbon – a life-giving river running through its vineyards.

“The river is the reason for our existence. It’s the core and heartbeat of our wines,” says John Barnardt. “As such, The River Collection is the heart of our offering – a premium selection that is our primary focus.”

Together these elements represent a compassionate and dynamic vision for Bonnievale Wines, which includes a number of strategic objectives according to John and Carina:

  • Achieving grower sustainability and profitability through sustainable vineyard practices on all its farms, using only certified planting material to maintain quality;
  • Meeting globally recognised standards through ISO 22000 food and beverage safety compliance, complete traceability of each wine back to a specific vineyard, and rewarding growers and producers for excellence;
  • Reaching transformation objectives with the decision to include black shareholding. With three farms already black-owned, a farm owned by workers will be expanded with another 15 ha. Training will be encouraged to enable participation in management positions and facilitates entry into new markets;
  • Ensuring growth by increasing grape production and the merging of suitable wineries to reach the required scale, intended to reach 2 million litres of Bonnievale-branded wines and greater penetration into export markets;
  • Building a distinctive brand with substantial long term equity through recognisable packaging of wines that will obtain their competitive edge from Bonnievale’s own vineyards under the expert hands of winemaker Marthinus Rademeyer.

With each bottle grown and made in the Bonnievale valley, The River Collection is set to become a brand tailor-made to suit the tastes and lifestyles of South Africa’s fast-growing middle class of aspirational wine-drinkers.

  • The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is medium-bodied, fresh and crisp with a slight flinty undertone. Tropical notes with a hint of herbs show on the nose and reflect on the palate too. It is an ideal partner to seafood and sushi.
  • The River Collection Chardonnay 2018 is a rounded, delicate wine with subtle aromas of oak, citrus and peach. On the palate are tones of dried fruit. It can be enjoyed on its own or with hearty curries, creamy pastas and salads.
  • The River Collection Chenin Blanc 2018 is a classic example of the variety. It’s crisp and bright with floral and fruity aromas that are pleasantly amplified on the palate. It is satisfying when savoured by itself or served with full-flavoured white meat dishes.
  • The River Collection Cinsault Rosé 2018 is made in the crisp, dry style of Southern France. The result is a light, aromatic and refreshing wine that pairs exceptionally well with seafood and crisp garden salads.

The wines are currently being sold from the cellar door for R57 each and will soon be available at leading retailers such as Tops @ Spar and Food Lover’s Market. Red wines will be added when the 2017 vintage is released later this year.

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