Focus on Premium Market Gives DGB Winning Edge

Top image: Tim Hutchinson

DGB Ltd led the South African category at the prestigious Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards, winning over 40% of all Gold medals awarded to Cape producers at the Spring Competition, which is traditionally held just before the annual Prowein Wine Show in Dusseldorf.

Of the total of 24 Gold medals going to South African wines, 10 were for wines in DGB’s diverse stable of established and new brands, representing an impressive diversity of styles, regionality and grape varieties. The winning wines are housed in DGB’s Boschendal and Bellingham ranges, as well as a “passion project ”, the Old Road Wine Company which is co-owned by Tim Hutchinson. 

However, if there is one factor common to these Mundus Vini awarded wines, it is that they all bear the fruits of DGB’s strategy of the premiumisation of its local and international wine offering.

DGB Ltd CEO Tim Hutchinson said the company had made a collective decision in 2016 to focus on servicing the top-end of the wine market through offering wines at price points and a quality proposition for which customers are prepared to pay premium prices.

“Of course we knew that focussing on the premium market was not going to be easy – if it were, everybody would be doing it,” says Hutchinson. “But since this strategy was implemented, we have seen growth in the premium market, the result of DGB’s strong wine brands offering provenance and legacy – such as Boschendal and Bellingham – as well as exciting new lines, including the wines from Old Road Wine Company. The growth is recorded by the sales figures while the quality of the wines is underscored through competitions such as Mundus Vini, where DGB dominated the local category this year.”

Jacques Roux, who heads-up DGB’s wine marketing and sales, says the Mundus Vini results give an accurate picture of DGB’s commitment to quality through its ranges. 

“While the custodians of our various brands and the marketing teams have done a great job in keeping the wines and their stories in the minds and hearts of the consumers, all the story-telling in the world will not help you make good and better wine,” says Roux. “DGB Head winemaker Stephan Joubert and his team of eight winemakers leave no stones unturned in getting the best fruit from vineyards located in the most exciting pockets of terroir, to which they show respect by making pure, terroir-driven and critically acclaimed wines. As far as DGB’s wine portfolio is concerned, we are currently in a very good space commercially as well as with our quality proposition.”

Roux says the Mundus Vini Competition, judged by international wine experts from the fields of retail, media, sommeliers and wine critics, is one of the most respected and professional competitions in the world.

“Not only does it fall under the auspices of the respected Meininger Group, but the fact that all entries are judged un-sighted – meaning judges do not know the identity of the wines tasted and scored – gives Mundus Vini the credibility you want from a wine competition,” he says. “DGB has made a conscious decision not to submit wines for any reports or competitions not using blind judging.”

According to him, sighted tastings, where judges know the identity of the wine they are judging, cannot guarantee a completely objective view and are subject to bias.

“Once the judge knows the identity of the wine, all fairness and objectivity goes out of the window,” says Roux. “Why, therefore, would you put the integrity of your winemaking team, the viticulturists, the pruners and the cellar-hands in the hands and not the palate of a taster that relies on the label to score the wine?

“We are tremendously proud of this showing at Mundus Vini and am sure it will increase DGB’s growing footprint, locally as well as throughout the world.”

DGB International Sales Director Greg Guy said DGB’s sterling performance at Mundus Vini gives the brands much-needed exposure now that this year’s Prowein trade event has been postponed due to the coronavirus. “Prowein, held in Dusseldorf each year, is one of the world’s most important wine events, and its postponement has left a void in opportunities for wineries to get international exposure for their wines,” says Guy. “DGB’s fine showing at Mundus Vini so shortly before what would have been Prowein, definitely helps to fill the gap by affording our wines the international attention they deserve.”

The DGB Gold Medal winning wines are:

Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2017
Bellingham The Bernard Series Whole Bunch Roussanne 2019
Bellingham Homestead Sauvignon Blanc 2019
BellinghamHomestead Shiraz  2017
Bellingham Homestead Pinotage 2018
Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2017
Boschendal Black Angus 2017
Boschendal The Nicolas 2016
Old Road Wine CoButcher & Cleaver 2017
Old Road Wine CoWine Co Juliette 2019