Orange River Cellars – receiving acclaim in 2015
30 December 2015
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto yet another edition of Old Mutual Live, it’s good to have you with us. Great things start here, great things start now. A while ago we were talking about some things that are happening on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape. All part of the Orange River Cellars and we thought we’d get him back on, the Marketing Manager of Orange River Cellars joins us once again. Koos Visser, welcome back, nice to chat again.
Koos Visser: Thank you, I like to be back.
BB: Koos, we were speaking last time a little bit about the activity and what’s actually happening on the banks of the Orange River and the quality and quantity of wines that you as a cooperation are producing. But I wanted to delve a little bit deeper into those wines and look at some of the wines from the Northern Cape, particularly in 2015 that received acclaim. You guys have won some wonderful prizes and medals at various shows around the country. Would you say 2015 has been one of your best years yet?
Been two good years for us
KV: Ja, I think actually the last two years, looking at all the awards, 2014 and 2015 for us was very good years. I think that is just a cornerstone to build on for the next. I’m very happy with what happened and the accolades for us is very important on the marketing side. The more accolades, the better for us.
BB: Let’s talk about one of them in particular, the gold medal that the Orange River Cellars won at the Straw Wine 2014 clinched at Veritas, that’s a huge feather in your cap.
KV: 100%, last year it was the Colombard, this year it’s the Straw Wine. I think that actually gives you the diversity of this Northern Cape region. What we can produce, what we are able to do. Looking at all the awards this last year, 2015 of this year; it’s actually, for me, it’s a feather in the cap for the winemakers.
BB: You touched on the Colombard as well, SA National Champion wine in the category of the Best Natural Sweet Wine, tell us a little bit about that wine in particular.
What makes our Straw Wine so great
KV: The Straw Wine you mentioned?
KV: The Straw Wine, I don’t know if you know how a straw wine is actually produced? This year it was also, the Straw Wine has come from a Chenin Blanc grape. What they actually do is they put it on straw and let it dry out so that the juice of these berries are very concentrated and then they harvest it.
You get a very small yield from this bunch of grapes, but actually the concentration of the flavours are so immense. Then they put it through the processes and they stop fermentation at a certain stage because you can’t have the alcohol too high on a straw wine.
So they stop fermentation round about 11 percentage alcohol and then they; I’m not a winemaker, but they put it through certain processes, age it in barrels and then at the end, the quality is exceptional.
BB: That wine in particular has received very positive reviews and ja, it’s just absolutely amazing how things have really worked out for that straw wine. Tell us a bit about some of the other awards that you managed to pick up in 2015 Koos.
More accolades followed
KV: Okay, let’s start with the Muscadel Association because the Northern Cape is known and renown for the fortified wines. At the Muscadel Association, the Red Muscadel 2013 receives a platinum, which is the highest we can go. Also this year we did it with our new privately produced bottle, fortified wine bottle.
That gives us a very nice packaging, it looks immense on the shelf. That was a big success story because last year for us the sales of the Muscadel actually rocketed. Looking at the Old Mutual Trophy, we received a bronze for the Chardonnay and the White Muscadel. Also the Red Muscadel again and then also the Straw Wine, all of them received accolades at the Old Mutual Wine Trophy.
Then at the SA Port Producers Association, our Cape Ruby, that is actually the whole port, receives a silver. Then the Best Value Wines; we received this year a Colombard silver, the Ruby Cabernet gold, the White Muscadel gold, the Chardonnay silver, Pinotage gold….which is, for us, very good, we like red wines to do good. The Hannepoort a gold and the Red Muscadel a double gold.
Then looking at the Muscat Du Monde, which is an international competition, we received a silver for the Red Muscadel 2013. Then on the China Wine Awards, for us it is very important to also be there and we always do good on the China Wine Awards.
The Lyra 2012, which is an aged red blend receives a gold, the Ruby Cabernet 2013 receives a gold, the Shiraz receives a gold, the Pinotage received gold and silver medals for the Colombard, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Lyra Shiraz Reserve.
Then on the Veritas we know now the Straw Wine receives a gold, the Red Muscadel silver, the Colombard silver, the White Muscadel bronze, the Lyra bronze, the Chenin Blanc bronze and the Natural Sweet Rosê a bronze.
Maintaining a high standard
BB: Overall, a fantastic year for Orange River Cellars. How do you top that? Is there pressure on you to improve on that for 2016?
KV: Well, if the winemakers don’t feel the pressure, we normally, from the marketing side, put pressure on them! For us it’s very important, but no, they did well. We’ve got 22 winemakers and as a team I think they produce exceptionally well. They are all part of groups that work with people in the Western Cape, so that we are always on top of the most recent technology and the winemaking skills and all that type of thing.
BB: Koos, if people want to find out more, I know you guys do have a website as well and they can read up more about what you guys are doing, it’s www.orangeriverwines.com, you can get all the details there. Koos, you touched on something that I’m very interested to elaborate on, but unfortunately on this podcast we’ve run out of time.
You mentioned the international awards and particularly China and I wanted to speak about the export business. Exporting wines, particularly in China, but we’ll save that for another day. I look forward to catching up again soon, thanks for your time.
KV: Pleasure, thank you very much, it was nice talking to you.