All change at Graham Beck where it’s now only about sparkling wines

Graham Beck bubbly wire 2016GOODBYE to Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc, hasta la vista Bowed Head Chenin Blanc, The Ridge Syrah, Coffeestone Cabernet and then some – at least under the Graham Beck banner, that is! In a brand rationalisation that will see everything without a bubble stripped from the range, Robertson’s leading sparkling wine producer and one of South Africa’s top three Méthode Cap Classique cellars has announced that the house of Graham Beck will in future focus solely on MCC.

The farm’s ‘everyday favourites’ – the Railroad Red blend, Waterside Chardonnay and ‘Pinno’ Pinotage labels – have been sold to DGB, owners of numerous brands including Douglas Green, Bellingham, Boschendal and Brampton. ‘The Game Reserve’ selection of whites and reds now belongs to Rooiberg Winery just a few kilometers away from Graham Beck’s Madeba estate. And what was said officially about the ‘ultra-premium’ still wines including Hall of Fame regular Pheasants’ Run was that the portfolio “will be depleted in the next few months” – although it’s thought that one or more of these might continue in a new guise under different ownership down the line.

Besides the cellar and vineyards in Robertson, Graham Beck Enterprises also encompass the Steenberg Vineyards and resort on the Constantia wine route as well as the Highlands Stud Farm (thoroughbred racehorses) in Robertson. Confirming the changes at Graham Beck Wines, CEO Chris du Toit said that R150-million would be invested over the next three years in positioning the brand as the high-end MCC market leader both locally and internationally.

Investments will include new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plantings on the Robertson estate. There will be additional cellar space to facilitate an increase in production and storage capacity involving longer periods of the secondary fermentation associated with sparkling wines made according the traditional method for which Champagne is famous. The visitors’ experience at the Robertson property will be improved and a new tasting room in Stellenbosch is also on the cards.

“We are elated about focusing solely on MCC,” says Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira. “Our commitment to being the best means making strategic and investment decisions in our continued pursuit for the perfect bubble.” There are currently seven Cap Classique sparklers wearing the GB badge – including five classified among South Africa’s finest in terms of best track records – and the proprietors aren’t ruling out a newbie before too long.