Kumala on three-year quality drive

22 February, 2007

South African wine brand Kumala

is undertaking a "vineyard to the bottle" project over the next three years, working with the

production chain from grape growers to winemakers in an effort to improve quality.

Head of winemaking Bruce Jack said his team would work with Chardonnay and Shiraz growers "following the grapes through the winemaking process - we're going to be involved all the way to the bottle".

He added: "We want to

know exactly where each grape is that goes into a Kumala bottle, how workers and land

are treated, what their ethical and sustainable practices are. We've got the volume

- now we need the authenticity."

Jack,

recruited by brand owner Constellation last

year to look after its South African portfolio, has already

taken steps

to improve quality.

He said: "We're really starting to see a resurgence in the brand. In August, our winemaker Ben Jordaan started procuring wine directly from producers." The brand's previous owners, Vincor and Western Wines, had sourced wine through brokers to keep up with demand. Constellation acquired the brand in 2006 when it bought Vincor.

The Kumala team

is working more closely with wine producers to

ensure they get "absolutely the best tanks for the money", Jack said.

He added the focus would be on "rebuilding the brand from a quality perspective". "Forgetting the hype and the marketing, I want to make Kumala a wine I'm really proud to stand beside when I talk to journalists and buyers".

Nielsen figures for Kumala show an 11 per cent drop in value sales - to £85.5 million - during the year to Jan 27 2007.




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