We chat with a cellar each month about their business, what makes them lie awake at night and what gives them hope. “A good wine will always sell! Make a wine that reflects the vineyard and its environment in the best way possible,” says Jacques Bruwer, owner and cellar master of Bon Courage Wine Estate.
1. Tell us more about Bon Courage?
Bon Courage Wine Estate is located in the picturesque Robertson Valley, 9 km outside Robertson on the R317. The farm has been home to three successive generations of Bruwers since 1927.
We cultivate about 170 hectares of vineyards, from which we make a large and diverse range of wines. At Bon Courage we offer the perfect wine for every consumer, occasion and taste – from Cap Classique to white and red wines, as well as a fortified wine. About 60% of our wines are exported, compared to 40% sold locally.
What makes Bon Courage really special is the fact that we are all actively involved in this family business. Our wines are grown, made and bottled on the estate, which means that we have control over every aspect of our wines – from the vineyard to the bottle. Therefore you can always be assured of the best quality!
We employ about 60 people permanently, and do not make use of seasonal workers. Our people live and work on the farm and some have been working together for generations, which adds to our spirit of togetherness.
2. What lessons have you learned since the onset of Covid-19?
We have learned to stand together, more than ever before. Everyone had to adapt to the unknown, but with good teamwork we remained positive. We also learned to think outside the box and focus on our strengths.
3. What makes your region special?
As with most wines, the vineyard site and environment contributes to the end product and it is precisely our distinctive terroir that plays a major role in our versatility. We are blessed with three rivers flowing through the farm, resulting in various soil types over millions of years. Today, this great and diverse terroir helps us to produce a wide variety of wines. Undivided attention is given to each wine grape varietal to reach its full potential as a wine.
Our region is also particularly fertile. The valley has good limestone soils and sufficient water supply from the Breede River. We have a dry climate that facilitates irrigation control and also contributes to our vineyards being healthier in terms of diseases.
From a tourism point of view, our region is not commercialised, and is certainly characterised by our people’s exceptional hospitality.
4. Any exciting plans underway?
At Bon Courage, we let ourselves be guided by consumers’ needs and usually plant what the market wants. We are currently modernising our pressing cellar to enhance our processes during harvest time and are definitely looking forward to the 2022 harvest with our new equipment.
We have recently ventured into the popular “bag-in-box” packaging for our overseas market and it is doing very well so far.
One of our most popular wines will also soon be boasting a new label and we are excited to see how the market will receive this change.
5. What is your advice/motivation to other wine businesses?
Teamwork is very important – whether on your own farm or with other producers. We believe that wine is made in the vineyard and the ideal is to keep it as simple as possible, with minimum intervention so that we can create a wine that speaks for itself. Remember a good wine will always sell.