December 20, 2007
The Goose wines
Retief Goosen has started his own brand of wine, called Fine Wines by the Goose. The farm, interestingly enough called Ganzekraal is located in the Upper Langkloof, not far from Goosen’s house in George. Winemaker Morne Jonker is very positive about the brand, with the flagship wine ‘The Expression’ being a 50% Shiraz - 50% Cabernet blend retailing for about R270 a bottle, with only 1 000 cases of the wine currently on the market.
Jonker describes the Expression as “an elegant wine, well-balanced wine”.
“Our acids are high – we don’t over-tannin our wines with wood tannins – and we use 20% new barrels, 80% second, third and fourth fills which gives it that nice classical feel. The wine, in fact, tastes older than what it is.”
Having been produced in the Langkloof – a cool climate wine region where the average temperature is 17 degrees – the ripening process is prolonged, resulting in smaller, more concentrated berries.
The Expression is distributed by NMK and Global Brands, and stocked by Caroline Fine Wines at the Cape Town Waterfront.
Brendan Barratt, a good friend of mine and the Assistant Editor of Compleat Golfer magazine (www.compleatgolfer.co.za) caught up with ‘The Goose’ at the recent SAA Open in Pearl Valley and asked him about his new range of wines.
How did you get into winemaking? Were you always interested in wine?
Well you know, I sort of really got into wine let’s say 15 years ago, drinking wine with my wife – she always liked the Chardonays, so I started drinking it and then I became more interested while travelling around the world. You just about eat in a restaurant every night when you play around the world so I just became interested in ordering different wines off the menu and started really getting interested in all the different flavours. About two years ago I said to a good friend of mine, Werner (Roux – of Lagoon Bay Golf Estate), Let’s get into the wine. And he said, ‘Well, I know this guy who makes very good wines, just across the mountain here in George’. So we went to go see Morne (Jonker), and Morne was very interested in getting involved, and that’s how we started the brand. So far it’s been going fairly well and we have only really been running it now since May last year, and we know the wine is good.
How involved are you in terms of hand-on winemaking?
Well I am not there actually picking the grapes! That’s for sure, but I am drinking it! But I have been on the farm a few times and we have invested a lot into the farm to upgrade and plant some more grapes. I was quite involved in the selection of the actual bottle itself and the labelling, they were pretty much my idea.
You’re following in the footsteps of some fine winemaking golfers, Ernie, Arnie…
Well yeah, just about every second golfer now has a wine farm, isn’t it? We are obviously big drinkers! But it’s more of an interest than really a business thing and if it does happen to make it, it’s great – and so far it is doing well. And we know we’ve got a good brand.
Do have have any particular wine preferences?
I love this combination that Morne has made, the Cabernet-Shiraz and the Sauvignon Blanc we are bottling in February, so my wife is more of the white wine drinker. I like both, purely depending on what I am eating and how I feel.
In terms of marketing the brand, can we expect to see ‘Goose Wines’ on your shirt sleeve any time soon?
Well, I have Grey Goose, which is unfortunately a French-American vodka, but that’s something I will definitely start looking at, doing some sort of branding somewhere on my golf bag. At the moment we have been doing quite a bit of marketing and we were at the wine show in London a few months ago, so we are slowly building up our customers. We are doing well, we are exporting a little bit to England, Ireland, Singapore and China. We are looking forward to the East, once we get China then it is going to be our biggest market for exporting.
To contact Morne - call : 082 653 6800 ; e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information log onto www.thegoosewines.com
(Thanks must go to Brendan for providing The Cru with this exclusive interview with “The Goose” - let’s hope we see him win another ‘Major’ soon!)