uniWINES Vineyards Launching Environmentally Friendly Packaging for the Thirsty Finnish Market

uniWines Vineyards, the Rawsonville-based producer making wine for various clients in the local and international markets, will be upping production of its Ankerman brand to service a substantial long-term Finnish tender for wine packaged in environmentally-friendly PET (plastic). “The tender is not only valuable in unlocking further value to our grape growers, but will also boost our Ankerman and other brands,” says Ferdinand Appel, MD of uniWines Vineyards. “It also underscores the changing scope of the international wine market where wholesalers, retailers and customers are shifting away from conventional wine packaging. This opens new opportunities for the whole local supply chain,
provided it is geared to provide these services.”

Appel says that the opening of new markets for uniWines Vineyards packaged products is key.

“Growing our own brands, which also include the Fairtrade-certified Palesa range and Meander, is a major part of our strategy going forward. Not only are we seeing increased interest in Asian, European and America markets, but uniWines Vineyards’ close relationship with Fairtrade has led to increasing local exposure for us, the quality of our product and our brands.” uniWines Vineyards vinifies grapes from some 2000ha which are farmed by its shareholder-farmers,
as well as by a Black Economic Empowerment arm.

According to Appel, the Scandinavian market is an extremely exciting and dynamic one.

“These countries have over the past years definitely grown a liking for South Africa wines, and pose a number of challenges with their demands for unconventional packaging.

“The tender we won is for wine in PET (plastic) bottles. This means we are able to add value to the product at point of source by supplying the packaging and doing the bottling in South Africa, instead of shipping the wine out in bulk to be bottled at point of sale,” says Appel. “The fact that the client wanted PET, means that the South African industry has become recognised as being flexible and as having a world-class infrastructure to provide alternative packaging.

“Alternative packaging, such as PET, is definitely set to grow as each wine market establishes customer preferences. In this regard, uniWines Vineyards will remain as flexible as the customer demands in giving them the wine they want, how they want it. Our Palesa Fairtrade wine, for example, is also available in an environmentally friendly 1,5litre pouch – another example of alternative packaging which is increasing in popularity.”

Quality and price are, however, the most important aspects in landing distribution contracts.

“uniWines Vineyards’ success begins in the vineyard and the winery where our philosophy is to produce the best quality wines enabling us to over-deliver on price,” says Appel. “In today’s markets, affordable wine has to be good wine. And this lies at the core of uniWines Vineyards’ ethos.”