New Bruce Jack range gains Sainsbury’s listing

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s is to list the new range from South African winemaker Bruce Jack starting this winter.

Formerly group winemaker at Accolade, Jack left the Australian wine giant earlier this year and embarked on his own projects, involving building his own winery in the Overberg – called The Drift – where he makes single vineyard wines and a collaboration with Fairtrade giant uniWines which led to the Bruce Jack range.

Already distributed in China, the Netherlands and Canada, the range includes a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, a Pinotage-Malbec blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wines will be launched in the UK this November at what Jack refers to as a “lifestyle” price point, which is to say above the most entry-level wines in the market.

Speaking to the drinks business at the recent Cape Wine show, Jack said how important it was to build a strong, quality-focused, “authentic” South African brand with a global reach and especially in the UK where South African wine has tended to lag behind its Australian and Chilean counterparts.

He said that too large a chunk of the South African market in the UK was ‘white/own’ label (around 36% according to Nielsen) and that had to change if South Africa was going to improve its position in that market and improve its overall profitability.

He continued that South Africa still didn’t have “a brand in the UK. None with authenticity.”

Looking at some of the well-known South African brands in the UK, it’s notable that many are not South African-owned.

“’Who’s behind it? Where does the money go?’” he asked rhetorically. “That’s what the new, engaged consumer wants to know. With Bruce Jack it’s a South African brand.

“We’re creating something with a home and a soul that’s missing from South Africa.

“It’s a brand driven by a winemaker not a company, accountants or a marketing department. And that gives it authenticity too.”

Pieter Cronje of uniWines, added that the prevalence of white label South African wines in the UK showed that retailers wanted South African wine but couldn’t find a brand that suited them so resorted to making their own.

“Retailers need something more substantial,” he said. “It’s not just the Bruce Jack brand that will solve that but it needs to start.”

“The UK is the crucible of all wine markets,” added Jack. “If you want to build a global brand and be serious you have to do it in the UK.”

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