Du Toitskloof celebrates 50 years of winemaking
One of the first cooperative cellars in the Breede River Valley to start bottling wine under its own name, celebarted their 50th birthday this past weekend.
Du Toitskloof is a household name in South Africa and has established themselves as one of the key players in the South African wine industry over the past 50 years. They are the kings when it comes to producing excellent quality wines at an affordable price, with a string of local and international awards to proof it.
The 2012 Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc caused quite an upset in the wine world during September when it was awarded as one of South Africa’s Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc. This is a great achievement considering that the wine, made in a blend of 2,2 million litres, shares the list with limited-edition wines selling for three to four times the price.
For Johan de Wet, Du Toitskloof chairman since 1999, this achievement again confirmed the cellar’s basic philosophy of providing exceptional quality at affordable prices. This year, Du Toitskloof processed more than 16 000 tons of grapes, the highest volume ever. This is great news for the cellar as well as the consumers, who can share in the benefits of scale Du Toitskloof achieve.
Du Toitskloof’s history dates back to 1962 when six wine farmers decided to establish a co-operative. The road to the top was by no means easy. The wine industry was highly regulated and they were forced into producing mainly bulk wines for the country’s wholesalers. Things only took a turn for the better in the early 1990′s, when Du Toitskloof decided to concentrate more on the bottled wine market. This, along with some innovative winemaking and leadership, turned them into one of South Africa’s most progressive wineries. Today about 30% of total production is sold bottled, under the Du Toitskloof brand.
Today Du Toitskloof Wines is a multi-million rand company with 22 members. They are a close knitted family and many of the board members are second-generation descendants of the founding members.
Apart from their excellent value-for-money wines, these guys also place a whole lot of focus on environmental and social responsibilities. In 2005, Du Toitskloof Wines started a joint venture, what is today one of the world’s biggest Fairtrade projects. Three day-care centres has been established, providing care for 170 toddlers from the community. It also to a large extent funds a primary school with a library and computer centre which provides tuition to about 100 learners, 90% of them from member farms, as well as an after-care centre. All member farms are Fairtrade accredited.
Du Toitskloof Wines innovative spirit did not stop here. According to a recent report two of Du Toitskloof’s Fairtrade wines became the first to be packaged in completely aseptic Tetra Pak cartons in the UK.
On behalf of the Winetimes Team we would like to which this iconic wine producer, who also won South Africa’s most prestigious wine award in 2010, a very happy 50th birthday! May you keep our glass full and our wallets happy for many years to come!