Take the press used to extract juice from grapes as an example. A good quality press can cost tens of thousands of dollars or at the top end large capacity premium quality equipment can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, all for a few weeks work a year. That is only one item of equipment so you can imagine the cost of establishing a full winery operation.
One asset that wineries have and is often over looked as something that can be used for more than its own purposes is a sales team. Owners of small wineries tend to take on this role themselves while others use national distribution chains to get their product to market.
Medium to large producers however often have their own staff who visit restaurants and wine outlets promoting and selling their wares and it is these producers who are starting to look for other products they can sell at the same time. They add wines to their portfolios they don’t produce themselves and fill a gap in the wines they have to offer.
Tohu Wines, based in Nelson, have recently added a range of good quality Australian wines to the portfolio their sales team has to offer. Tohu is a brand owned by Wakatu Incorporation which is in turn owned by four Iwi making it essentially a family owned business, even if it is a very large family, and they have many similarities to the large family owned Buller Wines that was established in 1921 in Rutherglen (Victoria) and is one of the five oldest winemaking businesses in the region.
The key difference however is in the style of wines each produces and this is where working together really pays off; in Australia Buller Wines distribute Tohu wines and on this side of the Tasman Tohu gets to sell a range of wines that are quite different to their own. Buller wines available here include a low alcohol Muscato ($17) that has a refreshing spritz on the palate and is packed with apple and powdery river stone flavours, a range of fleshy cabernet and shiraz based reds and a stunning fine old muscat ($30) that has been fortified with premium brandy – a wine to warm you through and put a smile on your face. And Robert Parker gave this wine 96 points out of 100 and it has won multiple gold medals and a trophy or two.
Buller wines will start appearing on shelves near you very soon, keep an eye out for them as they deliver great value for money.
I have been drinking
Waimea Estates ‘Trev’s Red’ - $23 (cellar door)Made from Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Syrah the harvested fruit was fermented together. The intention was to make a light, bright easy drinking red but it turned out to be a medium weight, supple wine with savoury chocolate-dipped plum flavours and a nice long toasty oak finish. The perfect winter everyday red.
Clearview 2009 Old Olive Block - $39.99 (RRP)Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec this wine won both a Gold medal and the Trophy for best Cabernet dominant blend at The 2011 Spiegelau International Wine Competition. Packed with big berry fruit and cassis flavours and layers of spice and oak that evolve in your mouth, all bound together with silky tannins, this complex wine is worth every cent of its price tag.