A surprise announcement yesterday was that Graham Beck Wines will consolidate all the wine interests in its Graham Beck brand portfolio in its Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) range. The Graham Beck MCC focus will be supported by a ‘substantial financial investment‘, its CEO Chris du Toit has announced.
Mr du Toit said about Graham Beck Wines’ new MCC focus, which MCC portfolio includes Cuvee Clive, Brut, Brut Zero, Brut Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, and Gorgeous: ‘This change heralds the start of positioning the Graham Beck MCC range as the absolute high-end market leader in the MCC category in both the local and international market, focussing on the utmost quality. We will invest R150 million over the next 3 years and this is a major vote of confidence from the Beck family in the bold decision to focus on MCC production going forward’.
The media statement confirmed that the massive investment in the Graham Beck MCC brand is aimed at enhancing its leadership in the MCC market segment, maintaining its quality focus, and expanding its production facility outside of Robertson. It is planned to plant new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones best suited for sparkling wine at its Robertson Estate every year, over the next number of years. To allow for increased secondary bottle fermentation periods for its vintage and non-vintage brands, the company is planning to add an additional 8000 m² in storage space. In addition, new equipment from Champagne will assist in accommodating whole bunch pressing in their new pressing cellar, which is to be built over the next twenty months, allowing the company to increase its capacity.
Cellar master and winemaker Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira is excited about the new challenge, constantly striving to find the perfect bubble in his MCCs: ‘We are elated about focusing solely on MCC. Listening to the market in our journey of constantly increasing our quality, finesse and timeless appeal has always been a priority. Our commitment to being the best means making strategic and investment decisions in our continued pursuit for the perfect bubble’.
The Graham Beck still wine brands will be shed. Their premium brands Railroad Red, Waterside Chardonnay, and Pinno have been sold to DGB (Pty) Ltd. The super-premium ecology-focused Game Reserve brand range has been sold to Rooiberg Winery, a partner of the wine company in the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy. For the next two years the Graham Beck branding will remain on the packaging, with both wine companies working together to ensure consistent quality and continuity. The ultra-premium wines in the Graham Beck Wines portfolio ‘will be depleted in the next few months’, according to the media statement.
I called Graham Beck Global Marketing and Sales Manager Etienne Heyns yesterday, to clarify the future role of their still wine winemaker Erika Obermeyer. Erika will be creating her own future, offering her services as a winemaking consultant. Etienne confirmed my speculation that Graham Beck Wines is making better returns on its investment in its MCC portfolio than in its still wines, despite the volume of wine produced in the two divisions being roughly the same. Last year Graham Beck Wines celebrated 25 years of making MCCs!
‘While we take great pride in our past, we are passionate about the journey we are on and believe that the best is yet to come. Our directorate and owners’ decision to focus on MCC and invest in our enterprise is further confirmation of our ability to embrace the opportunity of change. It also demonstrates Graham Beck’s unwavering commitment to the creation of high-end products synonymous with sophistication, timelessness and superb quality‘, concluded Mr du Toit.
Graham Beck Wines, Robertson (Tasting Room) and Franschhoek (Marketing & Sales). Tel (021) 874-1258/(023) 626-1214 www.grahambeckwines.com Twitter: @GrahamBeckWines
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein