Cape Coastal Vintners joint venture takes shape

Wednesday, 22 December, 2004
Arnold Kirkby
Like a jigsaw puzzle – all the pieces of the Cape Coastal Vintners joint venture are being put in place – carefully – to establish a firm foundation for building the newly named brand when it is launched after the 2005 harvest.
A clear vision is developing for entry into key North American and European markets for this focused grouping, comprising Cape Town-based Strategy Partners, private investors, including a black economic empowerment component and five cellars in the Boland. Strategy Partners, Cape Coastal Vintners management and capital partners, have worked closely with Boland Cellars, Bovlei Cellar, Wamakersvallei Winery, Wellington Cellar and Riebeek Cellars and defined that each of these wineries would still be responsible for marketing their personal brands both locally and internationally. They have also decided on Matuba as the name for the joint venture portfolio of wines. This name, and derivatives of it, can be found in east and southern Africa, but the portfolio and its wines, are intrinsically rooted between the mountains bordering Paarl, Wellington and Riebeek Kasteel and the West Coast. The vast and varied terroirs and micro-climates in which grapes are grown for these different wineries provides depth of wines needed to become a truly major player both locally and internationally. Equally, with a myriad of names in the market place, Matuba was selected because it is easy to pronounce, is strong and vibrant, has a subtle African heritage and a hint of mystique – a place far away. Initially there will be three ranges in the portfolio, starting with Foothills, Mountain Ranges and Summit, with the possibility of a fourth later. These will ascend through different price points and starting above the £5 entry level in the UK, with equivalent price in the other key markets. After thoughtful consideration it was also decided to tweak the corporate name from Cape Coastal Wines to Cape Coastal Vintners for business reasons and to prevent confusion about similar names. Respected Cape Town designer, Anthony Lane, who incorporated a strong link back to the vineyards of the producers who form the founding pillars of the company, designed both the label and Cape Coastal Vintners logo. The pentagram design of the company logo links the five cellars in a clean and easy to distinguish manner and this in turn forms a focus point for the Matuba label. Prospective northern hemisphere buyers have already shown keen interest in the brand and the first group have recently paid a visit to the Cape to taste the wines and visit the cellars. Advanced discussions are also taking place with local distributors, but these still need to be finalised. “We are moving ahead methodically, making sure that we have carefully researched each step, ensuring that when we put our wines ‘out there’, they are first and foremost the wines that the consumer wants,” said Johann Pieterse, Chairman of Cape Coastal Vintners. “As a company, we have also committed ourselves to establishing a firm platform in South Africa, so that we don’t have to come back in a few years time and try to do it the other way round. “It has been 18 months since this venture was conceptualised, put on paper and now is becoming a reality. We have sat around the table with all parties involved and said we will launch the wines when all the building blocks are in place. “We will continue to research our prospective key markets of North America and Europe, but at the same time we are looking at the broader global picture and striving to always think outside the box with each phase we tackle. “The pieces are starting to fall into place and in the time frame such a project takes to get off the ground – so even though we want to push it forward faster than we are, we know we must be patient,” said Pieterse.