Tukulu Wines celebrates 10 years

Date posted:
August 19, 2009

Tukulu Wines may be a relative newcomer to the global wine market, but those-in-the-know around the world are devotees. It’s a brand that is backed by one of South Africa’s most successful BEE stories.

Sound fanciful? Well, the story behind the award-winning Tukulu range of wines is as rooted in reality as the vines that grow in a very special vineyard in the Darling area of the Western Cape; a story that began a decade ago when a group of black bottle-store owners sought to extend their influence into the wine and spirit-making market.

As part of its 10-year celebrations, Papkuilsfontein Vineyards Ltd hosted an event at the farm in Papkuilsfontein and a food and wine pairing evening at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

“We held the enviable position of holding almost 80% market share in the retail and wholesale liquor trade in Soweto, Vosloorus, Katlehong, Springs, Carletonville and Vereeniging,” recounts Joe Chakela, spokesman and one of the founding members of Papkuilsfontein Vineyards Ltd which produces the Tukulu wines.

“It just made sense to position ourselves for a stake in the wine and spirits industry when it was unbundled to include black ownership a decade ago,” he adds.

Chakela and his partners had long had a reputation for innovation – it’s what helped secure them such a significant portion of the retail and whole liquor trade in their area of operation – and, working with Distell, they applied this to the Papkuilsfontein deal. For instance, long before the introduction of the elements of human resource and skills development, employment equity, and social and economic development to the BEE policy framework, the Papkuilsfontein deal had already incorporated these in its structure. And far from being simply static partners, the deal’s two empowerment partners were valued for the operational role and value they added to Distell.

Through Papkuilsfontein Vineyard BEE Investment (Pty) Ltd, the group owns a 36% stake in Papkuilsfontein Vineyards Ltd, together with top wine producer, Distell Group Ltd, which owns 49%, and the Maluti Groenekloof Community Trust (made up of the Papkuilsfontein workers and disadvantaged community members in Darling) with a 15% shareholding.

“The Papkuilsfontein transaction was a pioneering transaction in the wine industry, concluded in 1998, long before the Generic Codes on BBBEE were penned,” explains Kurt Moore, Group Manager BBBEE at Distell.

“Board members have been exposed to the industry and the challenges involved in growing a brand. We are proud to say that in the past ten years, Papkuilsfontein has had two black wine makers (male and female), a black male viticulturalist and a black male assistant farm manager,” a proud Moore adds.

What’s more, farm workers have been trained in the production of the top quality grapes which are used for the Tukulu wines.

Papkuilsfontein Vineyards Ltd is now based out of an impressive 976Ha vineyard which is valued at more than R37m today. And it’s on this Darling farm that top quality vines are grown for one of South Africa’s foremost empowerment labels, the Tukulu Wines.

The Tukulu wine portfolio includes Shiraz, Pinotage, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Organic Chardonnay and the Organic Sangiovese, with the Pinotage and the Chenin Blanc collectively enjoying NINE accolades between them. Among the awards is a top 10 placing for the 2006 Pinotage in the 2008 ABSA Top 10 wine awards. The same wine also earned a Gold in the 2008 Michelangelo International Wine Awards.

With a successful decade now completed, Papkuilsfontein Vineyards Ltd is looking forward to more awards and, ultimately, a fully black owned entity.


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