Wine Collectives – an exciting new force in SA wine


The word co-op has become a swear word in SA wine. While not as bad as that other c-word, it speaks to industrial scale production facilities, cutting corners, giant stainless steel tanks quietly oxidizing in the sun, cheap and nasty wine. Which could not be farther from the truth for many former co-ops.

Wine Collective is a hipper, more New York term and more suitable too as anyone whose tasted the natural ferment Chenins from Riebeek Cellars that they make for boutique brands, will confirm. The Dry Land range from Perdeberg and the Man Vintners wines they make with Tyrrel Myburgh and Jose Conde – they sell over 1 million litres of Cabernet in the USA alone. Or any of the wines from Darling Cellars: Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose… Last year KWV won more show medals than any putative SA First Growth, Nederburg is the most awarded SA cellar in history while DGB’s Niel Groenewald is the Goliath of grapes.

ww1 615x113 Wine Collectives   an exciting new force in SA wine

These are a few of the big guns of SA wine. One hundred years ago, the big guns of Europe were about to start talking and SA sent a generation of black and white soldiers off to be blown to Kingdom Come in Delville Wood and drowned on the SS Mendi. They called it saving the Empire. Well the Empire was eventually lost but we still ship bulk wine off to the trenches of Europe. It’s the tomb of the forgotten soldier all over again.

Silent cities of anonymous bottles standing to attention on supermarket shelves. Such a quiet droë rangskikking (dry arrangement). With the centenary of the First World War about to set European marketing aflame, time for SA Wine Collectives to mobilize and fight against uniformity, misconceptions and great SA wines bottled with too much sulphur in Strasbourg. With too much filtering and fining in France. With lashings of grapefruit juice, denatured and called wine coolers in  the clubs of Paris. Distilled into Vodka for Vladivostok. It’s a massacre.

A Big is Beautiful celebration of SA Wine Collectives is long overdue. For too long has the game been dominated by fashion terroiristes with their plagiarized slogans, ambition haircuts and hedonistic hand grenades, often made in Collective cellars. The Long Toms are long overdue. As one Darling retailer, whose dad crashed his Sopwith Camel c/8282 in the English Channel and had to be rescued by the Folkstone lifeboat, commented “see my arsenal and prepare to poep yourself.” What a great slogan for Namaqua Wines whose whites will dominate the skies over Europe this summer.