By Christian Eedes, 17 March 2015
If you were a winery owner, would you let your winemaker have his own label? Recently a fascinating tasting featuring eight pairs of wines, each pair consisting of a wine made for an employer next to a winemaker’s own-label or side-project offering.
The line-up as follows:
Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2013 and Savage White 2013 – Duncan Savage
Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010 and Yardstick Chardonnay 2012 – the Mulderbosch as made by Richard Kershaw but the current release from where Adam Mason is now winemaker and the Yardstick Mason’s own label
Radford Dale Renaissance Chenin Blanc 2013 and Reverie Chenin Blanc 2013 – Jacques de Klerk
Vuurberg White 2013 and Rall White 2013 – Donovan Rall
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012 and Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2012 – Hannes Storm
Kanonkop Pinotage 2013 and Beeslaar Pinotage 2012
AA Badenhorst Red 2012 and Swerwer 2013 – Jasper Wickens
Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2010 and Miles Mossop Max 2011 – Miles Mossop
We tasted the blind, the host giving his guests no indication of what was at stake, the only requirement being that those participating should vote for their favourite in each case. There were nine tasters in all and overall voting was 40 to 32 in favour of employer’s wine over winemaker’s own label. For me, it was even stevens on the day – I favourited four employer’s wines Isliedh, Vuurberg, Badenhorst and Tokara) and four winemaker’s own labels (Yardstick, Reverie, Storm Vrede and Beeslaar).
I suppose the dilemma you face as a winery owner is that you don’t want your winemaker having a product that competes directly with yours but equally you don’t want your winemaker to feel stifled creatively and leave your service altogether…