Distell launches new wine company.

Africa's leading wines and spirits producer and marketer, Distell is launching Libertas Vineyards and Estates as a new stand-alone company with ownership of all Distell's premium wine brands. 

Libertas Vineyards and Estates' Managing Director, Kay Nash, says the move was a "significant shift" from Distell's previous approach where premium wines were managed as a division within the global company's multi-category portfolio. 

"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. We believe our actions will speak louder than our words so its heads down and getting under the hood for a while," she says.

Nash says 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 and that the new business will also revitalise the iconic Oude Libertas site which will be their new chosen home for premium wine in Stellenbosch.

"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. There is recognition that the category is challenging and inherently complex and requires a specialist focus, different culture and entrepreneurial approach," she says.

Nash added that the "exquisite focus and passion" needed to drive success in the fine wine category would be harnessed in the new business. 

That the company will tackle the mammoth task in phases. The first priority in the short-term, she said, would be to critically review the large portfolio.

"We have eight brands and forty sub-sub-brands operating in 88 markets globally across 22 grape varietals, and spanning 304 SKU’s. The cost of this complexity is significant and it hinders our ability to focus and support winning propositions."

"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," adds Nash.