Carrie’s Corner: SA will always be our primary market – Schalk-Willem Joubert

After serving as CEO of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Schalk-Willem Joubert took over the reigns at Pink Valley. The farm is unique, in that it’s the only farm in the Cape that just makes rosé. Joubert sits down with resident wine expert Carrie Adams to talk about what’s happening in the wine industry. – Jarryd Neves

Carrie Adams on Schalk-Willem Joubert:

I’d hazard a guess that there are very few people on planet Earth who don’t know Schalk Joubert. He  headed up – he gave birth to the first Rupert & Rothschild wines. He looked after them, mollycoddled them and nurtured them. He got them to perfection. Five years before he left Rupert & Rothschild, he became the CEO and spent five years running that whole ship more than admirably. In 2018, you resigned from Rupert & Rothschild and you took over the reins at Pink Valley.

Schalk-Willem Joubert on Pink Valley Wines:

It is an incredible property. It’s on the slopes of the Helderberg, about 500 metres from the old Cordoba farm, which is now Taaibosch. We’ve decided to produce a rosé – a category that’s grown worldwide [and] phenomenally. In South Africa, the perception [of rosé] is very much still the sweet, cheap and cheerful [wine].

In our group, we have a winery close to Avignon in the south of France, also producing only rosé. We basically took a chapter out of that book and decided to produce only rosé. The style of the wine is unlike most rosé’s – or any rosé for that matter in this country – and it’s been doing very well.

Schalk-Willem Joubert on Taaibosch:

It was named after the fynbos species on the farm. It was not our first choice, but I’ve discovered that most names have already been taken or registered. We have so much taaibos on the farm [and] it’s an incredible plant. It’s a name that’s pronounceable in most languages, so for us it actually made sense to call the farm Taaibosch. 

Schalk-Willem Joubert On the South African wine industry:

The South African market will always be our our primary market. You have to be recognised in the country that you’re based in, before trying to sell wine overseas. For me, the South African market is by far the most important market.

Schalk-Willem Joubert on direct access to consumers:

It would be trying to create a situation where we are selling to our club members. The winery will be open to club members for tastings – tastings would be for free – but it would be a proper tasting, conducted either by myself or one of the other winemakers inside the cellar, with something to nibble on while you’re tasting the wine.

I think what happened is that in a way – and I’m also guilty of it – you tend to get removed from your consumer. I would like to get a change that, where the consumer or my client needs to come and visit me, experience and see what we’re doing and then to sell on consumption. I don’t have enough to sell directly into the trade.

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