A new dawn is upon Bonnievale Wines as it launches a new corporate identity and premium range of wines destined to be the ambassadors of the magnificent Breede River Valley they call home. Called The River Collection, the wines represent the winemaker’s ultimate art in the creation of wines that showcase their provenance.
Situated just outside the town from which it gets its name and some 90 minutes east of Cape Town, Bonnievale Wines is renowned as a leading producer and exporter of quality wines. Its home is a valley of vineyards, orchards and fields fed by the central artery that inspired The River Collection.
Shaping this valley over millennia, the river not only nourishes the vines but contributes to the unique character of the wines.
‘The river is the reason for our existence. It’s the core and heartbeat of our wines,’ says Bonnievale CEO John Barnardt. ‘As such, The River Collection is the heart of our offering – a premium selection that is our primary focus.’
The inception of The River Collection represents first light in an exciting transformation underway at Bonnievale Wines. Part of the journey included the recent appointment of respected wine industry specialist Carina Gous as strategic brand advisor. Having grown up on a farm in the Keisie valley near Montagu, Gous has a special connection to the broader region of the Breede River Valley.
‘The River Collection represents an important step in communicating the high quality and authenticity inherent in Bonnievale Wines,’ says Gous. ‘In addition to having a long and excellent history of co-operation and collaboration, its winemakers have access to a vast diversity of cultivars and terroirs in unique locations.’
Although its history goes back over half a century, Bonnievale Wines celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. It was formally established on 1 November 2006, created through the three-way merger of the Bonnievale, Merwespont and Nordale co-operative wineries in a milestone regarded as among the first of its kind for South African agriculture. John Barnardt has steered the business towards higher levels since inception – a journey that is never-ending.
The winery’s new crest reflects the blend of its heritage with the unique location of its wines. The cellar gable speaks of history; the three-arched bridge, of collaboration and teamwork, and the original wineries; the blue diamonds bordered by triangles, the river and vineyards; and, the ribbon, of unity.
The design work was undertaken by Bravo, Grand Prix winner of this year’s Winemag wine label design championship.
Today, the Bonnievale winemaking team is headed by Marthinus Rademeyer who joined Bonnievale in December 2009 and has a career shaped by early stints in California and St Emillion in France. His winemaking colleagues are Eddie Mathambo, Jean Slabber and Izak de Vries.
Four new wines
From their hand, the River Collection will eventually comprise a diverse range and currently includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and dry Cinsault Rosé. Reds will be added when the 2017 vintage is released later this year.
The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018
The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is medium-bodied, fresh and crisp with a slight flinty undertone. Tropical notes with a hint of herbs show on the nose and reflect on the palate too. It is an ideal partner to seafood and sushi.
The River Collection Chardonnay 2018
The River Collection Chardonnay 2018 is a rounded, delicate wine with subtle aromas of oak, citrus and peach. On the palate are tones of dried fruit. It can be enjoyed on its own or with hearty curries, creamy pastas and salads.
The River Collection Chenin Blanc 2018
The River Collection Chenin Blanc 2018 is a classic example of the variety. It’s crisp and bright with floral and fruity aromas that are pleasantly amplified on the palate. It is satisfying when savoured by itself or served with full-flavoured white meat dishes.
The River Collection Cinsault Rosé 2018
The River Collection Cinsault Rosé 2018 is made in the crisp, dry style of Southern France. The result is a light, aromatic and refreshing wine that pairs exceptionally well with seafood and crisp garden salads.
Where to buy
The River Collection wines available are currently being sold from the cellar door for R57 each. They will be available soon at leading retailers countrywide, including Tops @ Spar and Food Lover’s Market.