Two leading wineries in the Robertson region have amalgamated to create a new South African wine industry powerhouse. Roodezandt Winery and McGregor Cellar are set to establish Roodezandt (Pty) Ltd after member producers of both wineries agreed to the amalgamation that will see a winery with harvest capacity of 44 000 tons, making it one of the largest in the Cape wine industry.
The new company will be registered in the second half of the year. The amalgamation has, however, commenced in all practical sense with the 2020 grape harvest proceeding under the management of the new entity.
Ben Kriel, chairman of the provisional board of Roodezandt (Pty) Ltd, says the amalgamation occurs at a time when both Roodezandt and McGregor are riding the crest of success in their respective endeavours. “Both Roodezandt and McGregor are financially stable entities in a good space in the wine industry,” says Kriel.
“One of the reasons to create one wine entity is the need to remain competitive in the Robertson region where many wine grape farmers are moving to other crops. The new organisation will also allow for the stabilisation of input costs as well as capitalising on the opportunities a larger, diversified wine business brings to the fore, both locally and internationally.”
Roodezandt, situated in the town of Robertson, harvests an average of 33 000 tons of grapes through 29 grower-members, while 19 grower-members annually deliver 11 000 tons to McGregor.
Kriel says the new Roodezandt entity will have wine-ranging benefits for shareholders and employees, as well as the broader Robertson wine region. “Now that members of Roodezandt and McGregor have agreed to the amalgamation, both wineries are bound to the agreement of co-operation that will kick in during the latter half of 2020,” he says.
According to Abé Rossouw, CEO and cellar master at Roodezandt, both wineries will ensure their 2019 financial commitments are paid to their respective members. From 2020 these commitments will be the responsibility of the new company. “Both wineries remain separate logistical entities, managed according to the requirements of the new company,” he says.
Francois Naudé, chairman of the former McGregor Winery says his grower-members, management and staff are tremendously excited at the prospects of now being a part of a major progressive role player in the South African wine industry.
“Both Roodezandt and McGregor have an infrastructure aimed at delivering quality bulk wine to local and international markets,” says Naudé, “and having a micro-winery like the McGregor premises within this dynamic entity will assist the new winery with the developing of its product range. “The ability to commit to projects aimed at offering volume, quality and wine diversity will – together with the experienced management team – make this winery one of the most dynamic role players in the South African wine industry.”
Naudé says that bringing Roodezandt and McGregor together allows the new winery access to fruit from exciting terroir diversity. “Grower-members will be delivering fruit originating from the cool, shady mountain ridges of McGregor as well as from the fertile, well-drained soils close to the Breede River. This will allow an intriguing, diverse quality proposition from the new Roodezandt.”
According to Rossouw, most of the wine produced will be offered as quality bulk to established brand owners in South Africa as well as other parts of the world. “Our focus remains on long-term relationships, sustainable viticulture and access to markets,” says Rossouw. “Extending existing brands held by Roodezandt and McGregor will be pursued where we are sure of them adding value to the business.”
Rossouw says the focus of Roodezandt (Pty) Ltd is on market-orientated viticulture and winemaking. “All our grower-members are assisted by viticulturists ensuring each vine is optimally managed to deliver grapes from which wine is made for a specific market and at a pre-determined price point,” he says. “As far as our cultivar offering is concerned, we have diversity and volume: from the big players Chenin Blanc and Colombard, to noble varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The joining of the varieties and terroir diversity between Roodezandt and McGregor allows us to expand our offering to new and potential clients as well as positioning Roodezandt (Pty) Ltd as a dynamic new player in the local and export wine industry.”