The first range of wines from South Africa’s new ‘Visio Vintners’ label is now exclusively available from UK distributor, Hatch Mansfield.
Visio Vintners is the result of a collaboration between the owners of premium Stellenbosch estate, Kleine Zalze, and the Kleine Zalze Empowerment Trust – the latter set up by Kobus Basson, the then-owner of Kleine Zalze, who wanted to thank and give back to the workers. Established to benefit and create opportunities for all, the empowerment scheme is owned by the winery’s employees working in the vineyards, cellar, maintenance, logistical and marketing departments. These extra incentives and motivation throughout the team have been backing the production, creating an outstanding 2020 vintage.
The first vineyards were planted in 2017, when the intrepid Visio Vintners shareholders began realising a dream of making wines from their own 15 hectares of vineyards. The group has been rigorously involved in the entire process, from the planting and management of the vines to overseeing the winemaking and manufacturing of the final product.
The Visio Vintners vineyards are next door to Kleine Zalze, leased long-term from the Stellenbosch Municipality and set on a site that is renowned for the quality of the red wines that have been made from vines formerly planted there. With this in mind, the Visio Vintners plantings focus on the red varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. The wines are made in the Kleine Zalze cellar under the direction of cellarmaster RJ Botha, and Visio Vintners director, Norman Paulse.
Gerald Snyman, trustee of the Kleine Zalze Empowerment Trust and Kleine Zalze Farm Manager, said:
“Like any wine brand, the success of Visio Vintners will be determined by the quality of what is in the bottle. Our whole team knows this, and I have been delighted to see the motivation and pride my fellow Visio Vintners colleagues are taking in ensuring that, while the project is benefiting and creating opportunities for previously disadvantaged farm workers, we produce a product that can stand alongside the country’s best.”
Ben Knollys, Managing Director at Hatch Mansfield, commented:
“This is a really inspiring initiative with some outstanding wines. It’s a real privilege for us at Hatch Mansfield to bring this to the UK market and to work with such a committed and quality-focussed team.”
The range of Visio Vintners wines available via Hatch Mansfield in the UK comprises a Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault Rosé and an ultra-premium red blend named Alliance.
Since the first Visio Vintners vintage, this alliance of employees is seeing the fruits of their labour and sharing in its profits. While financial gains will be re-invested into the business, the critical reception of the first vintages is already rewarding the team for their work. The flagship wine, Visio Vintners Alliance 2020 (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinotage and Shiraz), achieved a commendable 92 points in the latest South Africa Report from Tim Atkin MW.
Hatch Mansfield is distributing the Visio Vintners range in the UK with immediate effect.