Not unlike Germany’s VDP (Verband Deutscher Qualitäts- und Prädikatsweingüter or Pradikat Wine Estates), the driving force behind CVC is Johann Rupert, businessman and owner of Anthonij Rupert Wines. “About eight years ago, knowing nothing about the industry, I asked a few key figures how to make and sell better wine. I had no idea how much farmers like coffee,” says Rupert.
Those wishing to apply for membership need to be owners of a registered wine estate comprising a minimum of 20 ha of vineyard and operating a winemaking facility capable of processing 100 tons, the equivalent of 6 000 cases, this being the smallest volume the CVC considers necessary to be relevant in a global context. Membership fees will be R15 000 a year [the figure of R16K quoted at the launch function erroneous].
Accreditation further depends on 1) being environmentally sensitive, 2) exceptional levels of cellar door hospitality, 3) ethical labour practices (this to be determined according to the International Labour Conventions’ Ethical Trading Initiative incorporating South African labour legislation) and 4) wine quality (each winemaker required to present his or her wines to a committee).
Jean Engelbrecht of Rust en Vrede is chairman of the CVC board and there are currently 30 applicants for membership of the CVC, namely Anthonij Rupert Wines, Beyerskloof, Bouchard Finlayson, Delaire Graff, De Wetshof, DeMorgenzon, Diemersdal, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Hartenberg, Graham Beck, Groot Constantia, Kanonkop, La Motte, L’Ormarins, Morgenster, Neil Ellis, Overgaauw, Paul Cluver, Rust en Vrede, Simonsig, Springfield, Thelema, Tokara, Vergelegen, Villiera, Vriesenhof, Warwick, Waterford en Welbedacht.
A key element of the whole exercise is a logo (designed by Anthony Lane and referencing the VOC logo of the Dutch East India Company) which members can add to their wine labels along the same lines of the VDP’s stylised eagle bearing a cluster of grapes which appears on capsules. It strikes this observer that a large part of the success of the CVC depends on recognition of this logo by the punter. As Rupert himself noted, “If you want to sell something, your message needs to be simple and sincere and just when everyone on the sales team becomes totally tired of it, then perhaps 1% of the market has heard it.”
For more information, see Cvc1659.co.za