Distell Group launches new premium wine company

SOUTH AFRICA – Africa’s leading wines and spirits producer and wholesaler, Ditsell Group Limited has launched Libertas Vineyards and Estates as a new stand-alone company with ownership of all its premium brands, reports IOL Business

Libertas Vineyards and Estates managing director, Kay Nash said the move marks a significant shift from the company’s previous approach where premium wines were managed as a division within the global company’s multi-category portfolio.

The portfolio of brands includes Alto, Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz, Fleur du Cap and Allesverloren and as well as the unique heritage assets of Chateau Libertas, Zonnebloem and the Tabernacle. 

The new business also plans to revitalise the historic Oude Libertas site to build a distinctive destination for premium wine, innovation, learning and craft.

“We are making bold decisions regarding how we operate and compete and Distell with their strong wine DNA, are championing the need for a new approach.

With Nederburg in our portfolio as well as ownership of all our assets, we can bring back the focus and build an entrepreneurial culture so critical to success in the category,” Nash said

According to Nash, Distell’s first priority is said to be a review of the large portfolio which currently consists of eight brands and 40 sub-brands incorporating 384 SKUs (stock keeping units) operating in 88 markets globally.

Secondary production will also be consolidated from four sites to a single site at Nederburg to ensure a more efficient supply chain.

“We also understand the critical importance of our farms and partners in making beautiful wines and we want to actively participate in developing solutions and the up-skilling of our industry so we can build a sustainably successful premium wine industry.” Nash added

Plans are under way on multiple levels and include redefining the Nederburg Auction as a fine and rare wine platform for South African wines to showcase top South African wines locally and globally.

“We have started the premiumisation journey at all levels in the business from fine wine skills to brands and brand experiences, portfolio structures, ways of working and new collaborations and global routes to market.”

Nash believes the move out of Distell and the formation of an independent board of directors comprising industry leaders, will support real focus on the premium and fine wine category while being able to leverage the benefit of scale that Distell brings in critical parts of the value chain.

The ambitions include a collaborative living-working space, a craft centre for local artisanal product sales, a high-tech wine museum for the country’s collective history and a micro winery for young wine talent.

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