Taillard wines – very much a family business
21 October 2015
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Brad Brown: Welcome to this edition of Old Mutual Live. Great things start here. Great things start now. It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome our next guest onto the podcast, Anelise Taljaard. Anelise welcome onto the podcast. Thanks for chatting to us today.
Anelise Taljaard: Thank you, Brad.
BB: Anelise, you are part of Taillard family or Taillard wines. You guys are doing some amazing things. Tell us, where do we find you, where in the world are you based?
Where Taillard Family Wines are situated
AT: Brad, we are halfway between Malmesbury and Wellington, on the foothills of the Perdeberg. Our farm looks out over the Wellington Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
BB: It sounds horrible. Anelise, how long have you guys been involved in the wine industry?
AT: Brad, my dad built the farm about 10 years ago, and then we went through a couple of changes. Then about two years ago, we were very fortunate to get Teddy Hall on board, as our winemaker. From there onwards, we’ve been developing the Taillard brand, so that’s why we’re fairly new in the market with the Taillard brand, but we’ve paid our school fees.
BB: Yes, it’s challenging. You talk about school fees, and we can touch on that in a moment as well, and one of those fees that you need to pay is obviously, working within the family environment. It’s one thing producing wine when it’s purely a business but when there are family members involved that adds a whole, new challenging dynamic, doesn’t it?
AT: You have no idea. No, you know what, I adore my dad but we’re very similar and about a year ago, I used to work in the corporate environment all my life. About a year ago, I got bored with what I was doing, and I went through my options and that’s the day I decided to join the family business. You can just imagine the conversations my dad and I had, over a couple of bottles of wine but, in the end, he let me have my way.
Family brings an unmatched passion to a business
BB: It’s one thing, I talk about creating and producing wine as a purely economic and commercial venture, but when there is family involved, even though there are challenges and unique dynamics there’s love and passion involved, which makes a big difference too.
AT: It makes a huge difference, Brad. We’ve been working with marketers all our lives and so on, and even though you get good ones and the normal ones. There is nothing that can compete with somebody who is absolutely passionate about the product that they’re putting out there and because wine is sold with stories. People love to hear what it’s about and it’s a whole experience. That piece of passion, you cannot buy it.
BB: Absolutely. Talk to me a little bit about the story. How did your dad get in? You say he bought the farm. Was he always interested in wine? Was it a passion project, or has it always been part of his life?
The story behind Taillard wines
AT: I can answer that in quite a number of ways. My dad has always loved his wine and he and his friend, Herman Hannibal. From my youngest memories, are them sitting on Herman’s patio in Stellenbosch and the two of them sitting there and dreaming about getting involved in the wine business, but no, my dad spent most of his career, or all of his career frankly, in the mining industry. Then as guys do, they decide to get a hobby and the wine farm was supposed to be his hobby. He bought that 10 years ago and, yes, he’s been having fun with it ever since.
BB: It sounds amazing. Tell me a little bit about where you are you mentioned you’re at the foot of the Perdeberg. It’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s absolutely magnificent but it’s not just beautiful. It’s almost as perfect as it gets to be able to grow fantastic grapes that can produce wonderful wines.
AT: Oh, definitely. The swirl conditions and everything is absolutely perfect, especially for red wines. We do have a little bit of white wine on the farm but that is just to make sure that we can put something out there, in the range. Seeing that Teddy Hall is our winemaker but that part of the country is just so phenomenal for red wines.
We find that especially, well if you look at one of our ranges, ‘The Everyday Enjoyment Range’, those wines we’re all going to go with single cultivar wines. Purely because we find that, the grapes we produce are very, very typical of the cultivar, so when you do a Merlot – it’s a Merlot. We don’t have to blend it in to anything else to make it taste better or anything.
BB: Please tell us a little bit about your relationship with Teddy. He’s been in the industry for a while as well, and it’s often, when it’s a family business, you have your own, sort of unique ideas and values that you impart on the brand but when you get a winemaker coming into a family business like that – it does also create its own set of challenges.
Teddy Hall is a great winemaker
AT: I love working with Teddy. You know, the one thing where he’s absolutely phenomenal is he is there to create beautiful wines. That’s his passion and that is what he is so good at. So what I love about working with him is I can go to him and say, “Teddy, this is the range that we want to create for whatever reason we’ve decided. This is the style of wine that I want and this is the price point that I want for it.” Then I come back a couple of weeks later, and it’s there and it is absolutely, spot-on, for what I’ve asked him to do.
A nice thing about it is because none of us in the family are winemakers or have ever studied winemaking or anything, we don’t get involved or hung up on how he does his job because we know that he just knows what to do, and because he’s so well respected and well liked in the industry as well. We are just so fortunate to have his talent on board.
BB: Let’s talk about some of those wines and I find it interesting that you go to the winemaker and say, “This is what we want to produce. This is the price point. Off you go and make it happen.” Tell us a little bit about some of the wines you do produce.
What wines we produce
AT: We’ve gone through a bit of a rebranding process as well since I joined because, you know, when you join a place you want to put your stamp on everything as well. One of the wines, we started off with just having the ‘Everyday Enjoyment Range’, which is wines of exceptional value and quality, for under R100. You will see as well that those wines have all been referred to mining terms. That is obviously, to recognise my dad’s history in the mining industry.
Then at the beginning of the year, I came with the concept to my dad and thankfully he gave me some advice, and then let me do my thing, and that is the Lobola range of wines. Now, the reason why we created the Lobola wines is because we could see the gap in the market where, we wanted to create a wine that was for all South Africans, across the board. Not just for one portion of our market.
If you look at the term Lobola – it refers to the celebration of two families joining together in marriage and it’s the same through all of the different African cultures. It means the same thing and, typically, these negotiations are started with alcohol because, as we know, alcohol does make people get along a little bit better and chat a little bit better.
I did a lot of market research on it to make sure that, when you touch somebody’s culture like that you have to be very careful and very respectful of it. The worst thing I could do was to get it wrong because when you get it wrong, you get it spectacularly wrong and that is why, if you look at the wine, it is a very traditional look. It’s a very stylish look and it’s a beautiful, beautiful wine.
There are two wines in that range. It’s a Beau Rouge and Beau Blanc – a beautiful red and beautiful white. Both of those are blends and it’s again reflecting or reflecting the idea of bringing two parties together and making something better and more beautiful out of it, so the trademark for Lobola is celebrating unity.
Then we also have a flagship wine, which we have not yet put into the market, but we’re extremely excited about. It’s called Watershed and it is a Bordeaux blend and, once again, Teddy just showed his talents there like you will not believe, so we’re looking at launching that early to middle of next year. That should coincide roundabout Father’s Day, around that time, so keep it in mind, so yes, that’s the range of wines that we have on the shelves.
Labola has generated some great interest
BB: I love it. I mean obviously lots in the pipeline and exciting things to come but it’s still early doors for Lobola. How has it been received in the market?
AT: I can honestly say it’s been phenomenally well received and we’re very, very grateful for it. We decided to launch at the Soweto Wine Festival for obvious reasons. We just found people flocking to the stand to come and look at the brand, touch the brand, taste the brand because the other thing that we’ve done is we’ve put Braille on the back of the wine bottle because we wanted to include everybody in the experience.
AT: It’s amazing what happens when you do that. People take the bottle into their personal space and feel it, so you’ve added a new dimension to the whole wine experience by adding touch to it and not just having the other senses involved. I must be honest, up to date, it’s as though people connect with it on an emotional level. I am very, very grateful for it because it was a gamble.
BB: How does that make you feel, as someone who came up with the idea of putting it together, and then physically seeing someone interact with that bottle, and taste the wine? It must be extremely satisfying.
AT: Oh, it is. I get goose bumps every time I talk about the wine because I’m so passionate about it. Not just the Lobola wine but also all of our other wines. You know, we’re getting to a stage where, like Friday. We were sitting in the cellar going through all of the 2014 releases that’s coming out next year, and all of those wines were Teddy’s own wines, from grape to bottle. You just sit there and you realise but this is such a special experience, to be able to sit and be at the start of something like this. It is immensely satisfying.
BB: Brilliant stuff, and as far as where people can find your wines, and if they want to find out more about Taljaard Wines – where can they go to?
AT: They can go and have a look at our website but if they’re interested in ordering from us. We are in a couple of select bottle stores but, as you know, it does take time to get into the market. Hopefully by Christmas we will be in quite a number of the Spar outlets, as well as the Boutique Wine Stores. Otherwise, they can go to our website. It is taillardwines.com or they can just email me. They can email firstname.lastname@example.org or they can use the Taillard Wines one, it’s email@example.com.
BB: Anelise, what I’ll do is I’ll pop the links to that website in the show notes to this episode of Old Mutual Live as well. Thank you so much for your time today. Best of luck and we look forward to finding out more about Flagship, about Watershed when it does get released, and tasting it and best of luck for the future. Thanks for joining us today.
AT: Thank you so much, Brad. Have a good day.