Bonnievale Wines, Wandsbeck create new wine company

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Bonnievale Cellar (Supplied)
Bonnievale Cellar (Supplied)

The Bonnievale Wines group and Wandsbeck Wines are to merge, creating a wine company with assets in excess of R300m.

The amalgamation of the wineries in the Robertson region sees the formation of one of the Cape's biggest wine producers, to be known as Bonnievale Wine Cellar.

The agreement follows some 15 months of negotiations between producer members and directors, according to a statement.

Wandsbeck chair Philbert Lourens said Wandsbeck's membership and tonnage has declined over the years and the expectation is that a larger company will reduce production costs while raising profitability.

The aim is to create a good economic and sustainable future for members.

According to Bonnievale Wines group chair Anton Smuts, the changing production and marketing conditions have driven this merger strategy to encompass producer sustainability and profitability, ensure product supply and extension, and provide long-term market security and growth for the future.

Under the agreement, production will continue at existing facilities – three of the Bonnievale Wines group and one at Wandsbeck. Each winery will run at full capacity with a winemaker and production team on site.

All the winemakers remain in their present positions and report to head winemaker Marthinus Rademeyer.

Management and administrative staff will be based at the former offices of the Bonnievale Wine Group, which is also the location of the brand hospitality centre and customer service hub for both merging entities.

Bonnievale Wines group CEO John Barnardt has been appointed in the same position as executive head of Bonnievale Wine Cellar.

The merger provides 40 000 tonnes of cellar capacity under the new entity.

Empowerment remains a key part of objectives under Bonnievale Wine Cellar. These include a focus on vineyard ownership, driven mainly by free market demand and supply, but with key focus being on existing Black-owned farms; increased participation in winery middle and senior management; BEE shareholding in a subsidiary wine marketing company; and, increased involvement in community projects.

This is the second merger the Bonnievale Wines group has completed in 12 years. The Bonnievale Wine Cellar Cooperative Ltd was established in November 2006 after a three-way merger of Bonnievale, Merwespont and Nordale wine co-operatives, sparking more than a decade of growth for its member wineries.

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