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Distell to launch fine wine division

Published:  14 November, 2018

African wine, spirits and cider giant Distell is set to launch a new premium wine division with Nederburg as its flagship, Harpers can reveal.

Following the closure of Distell’s premium arm Cape Legends a few years ago, the newly created division will put focus into driving the company’s premium wines at home and overseas.

It will be 100% owned by Distell, but will operate as an entirely separate company, with Alto, Fleur Du Cap, Durbanville Hills and Pongracz joining the ranks over the next few months.

Plans have also been underway to expand Nederberg’s cellar in Paarl, just outside Capetown, which will act as the base for the new division and its winemakers.

Fermentation for the various brands will happen at the individual wineries, but the newly expanded Paarl HQ will provide a base for blending and maturation.

“Premium wine is such as big part of what Distell does, so now we will have a specific part of the company to focus on that in the same way that spirits has,” said Nederburg cellar master Andrea Freeborough.

“Nederburg is obviously very important for Distell. The new setup means winemakers will make their own wine and retain their identities, but in a new cellar where we can share best practice.”

Nederberg and Distell have been at the forefront of lifting the South Africa wine category from its bulk reputation over the past ten years, with Cape Legends forming part of Distell’s premium-focused Vineyards and Estates (DVE) operation.

When Cape Legends closed, its wine re-joined Distell’s portfolio.

In the UK, the as yet unnamed division will target more on-trade accounts and also independent merchants, with labels like Heritage Heroes at the forefront.

Sarah Gandy, head of UK marketing at Distell, said the new setup will help to make brands like Alto a focus where they weren’t before.

“When we meet customers, we’re talking about wine, spirit and cider. But with the new division it means we can focus on our premium wines specifically and tailor our approach so we’ve got a better chance of success.”

Distell’s global portfolio is roughly split between wines, spirits and ciders, with the leading market share in South African wine.


Main photo shows Nederburg cellar master Andrea Freeborough at an event last night to announce a £1million investment in its partnership to bring bicycle mobility to some of the most remote parts of South Africa.

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