The morning of August 16, 2015, I walked into the cellar and took a iPhone panoramic photo of a very neat winery. Neither Julia, my assistant (who was busy cleaning glasses at that very moment), nor me, at the time, realised that this photo would become a label and that thousands of people will see Julia cleaning glasses in the winery.
It was the morning of my 3rd round. I have a very long history with the guys from Woolworths: Allan Mullins and Ivan Oertle. (For my international clients: Woolworths is our uper premium grocer in South Africa). A few years ago I was approached by a guy who was supplying wines to Woolies. He had this project in mind where he wanted to make wines with the Parlotones, a very famous South African rock band. At the time BLANKbottle was still in its infancy (it had a really long infancy, like in 8 years or so…), anyhow, not knowing where I was heading with my career, I agreed to assist them with the project. Goodness, we had a blast! we not only converted the band members into wine’os but also made films, went for these ridiculousy long lunches followed by ridiculously long after parties. We made 3 wines which got its spot on the sought-after Woolworth shelf. That was my 1st round.
A year later, on the back of the previous success, they asked me to, in my own capacity, make a wine exclusive to them. They loved the Spaniard under the BLANKbottle label and wanted something similar. So we sat down for my 2nd Round: A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsaut followed and was very successful for 3 years. During that time BLANKBOTTLE went through significant growth where I realised what I liked and the direction I wanted to go in life. So in February 2015, Ivan Oertle was on the judging panel for the wine-label design awards, presented by WineMAG. After the competition he approached me with a new concept. He wanted to launch a premium wine range in the top 15 Woolworths stores country wide called “Craft Wine”. You see, craft beer is on the up and they wanted something similar, but in wine. So, after I took my iphone panoramic photo the Woolworths team arrived and it was the start of my 3rd ROUND .
In terms of winemaking it is as you can imagine a bit of this and a bit of that. But all components spend 18 months is old French oak, some were whole bunch fermented, some spend a long time on the skins, some less. All in all the wine is an elegant, super enjoyable fresh red blend of STELLENBOSCH Sangiovese, SWARTLAND Carignan and Mourvedre, ELGIN Pinot noir, BREEDEKLOOF Cinsaut and SWARTLAND Syrah.