15 October 2008

Francois Naude launches his own wine

When Francois Naude stepped down as winemaker at L’Avenir Estate on its sale to Laroche he told me that he was looking forward to not having the day to day responsibility, the night shifts and the call-outs that winemaking involves. As a consultant he would advise and let others carry the burden.

But winemaking is in his blood and he has now started a new venture Le Vin de Françoise, whose first wine – a Pinotage -- sold out its entire production within a few hours*.

Marketing was unusual. Potential buyers were invited to a black-tie function where the Pinotage was auctioned. 200 cases were sold realising an average price of 250R a bottle (about £15.20 or $26.30). Well known Johannesburg steak house owner Alan Pick took home 60 cases of Le Vin de Françoise Pinotage 2007.

Francois is well known for Pinotage. “I am a huge Pinotage fan and was lucky enough to have seven of the nine wines I entered for the ABSA Top 10 Pinotage Competition make the final line up. Pinotage is in my blood, like family, and it was only natural that our first product should be a Pinotage”, he said

Le Vin de Françoise Pinotage 2007 is a blend of barrel selected wines from wineries where Francois has been consulting: Delheim, Hartenberg, Lanzerac, L’Avenir and Neil Ellis.

Packing is special. The bottle is a reproduction of the original Bordeaux bottle used in 1855 The twelve bottle wooden cases that the wine comes in are custom made, stackable and sturdy, and the label a unique work of art from design studio Haumann Smal.

“We wanted to create a “magic” product. A product that would secure the first step for the brand to grow and prosper into something the generations that follow can be proud of” added Francois.

The icon that was used on the label is a wing nut, symbolising the clasping together of family ideals, with the different wines from a variety of terroirs that created this unique wine. Francois also jokingly added that the wing nuts look a little bit like his ears!

* Except for three more cases of the wine were kept back for a public on-line action to benefit The Faith Fund charity. You can place your bid at http://www.levindefrancois.com/ and three cases kept for Francois' own use. In total, just 206 cases of the 2007 vintage was made.

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