Family wine business booms from warehouse to 75 estates

WINE-MAKING the world over is often a family affair and Port Elizabeth’s Joubert clan are no exception. In their case though, it’s the distribution and marketing of wine from more than 75 estates that gets the debate going over the family dinner table.

They’re an outgoing and close-knit bunch who are passionate about their business and product. And those no-doubt lively discussions have led them to grow Winezani Logistics from small beginnings in a warehouse in George to a distributor of more than 700 variants from some 75 estates to customers across the Garden Route and Eastern Cape.

More than 100000 bottles are housed in their PE, East London and George warehouses, which have expanded rapidly to accommodate not only wine but also craft beers, cocktails, juices, crystal glassware and wine accessories.

The business is owned by mum Zinobia, with daughter Giselle keeping the administration running smoothly, and son Eugene heading sales and marketing.

From their initial focus on warehousing and transporting, they’ve become a “one-stop shop”, Eugene says. The business has grown to offer wine or beer tastings on their own or clients’ premises, showcasing their products at food and wine expos, and developing a strong focus on artisan and boutique products.

Most of their wine portfolio is from smaller estates, often with an interesting story.

Eugene highlights the reds from Kranskop, one of only 10 estates in the country still using the centuries old basket-press method; Beau Belle which focuses exclusively on shiraz; Windfall from Robertson, with a tiny output of just 1600 bottles per year, and Claime d’Or, also producing small numbers in Robertson with hand- written batch numbers on the bottles.

Customers include liquor stores, restaurants, game farms and hotels, with free delivery at “close to cellar prices” for their home customers.

“If you have an address, you can be a customer,” says dad Deon, who is a leading motor industry boss and also well known as the jovial host at many a tasting, food and wine pairing, or even wine and glass pairing event.

Their Czechoslovakian crystal glasses are specially shaped for particular wines, and Deon loves the surprised looks he gets when demonstrating how a change to the right glass can make an ordinary wine exceptional.

With their ever-growing wine list the Jouberts have yet to get around to sampling all their products. So, what cracks the nod for family dinners and Sunday braais?

Eugene names the family’s top picks as Kranskop merlot and Cronier’s “fantastic red blend” cabernet/merlot; sauvignon blancs from Karusa, Kranskop and Windfall; Claime d’Or sauvignon blanc; Karusa’s MCC bubbly for special occasions, and the great value Dam Good range from Villiersdorp.

Oudtshoorn estate Karusa produces a slightly sweet muscat blanc packed with litchi flavours which is “something really different” Eugene says, recommending it well chilled for summer days.

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