is undertaking a "vineyard to the bottle" project over the next three years, working with the
production chain from grape growers to winemakers in an effort to improve quality.
Head of winemaking Bruce Jack said his team would work with Chardonnay and Shiraz growers "following the grapes through the winemaking process - we're going to be involved all the way to the bottle".
He added: "We want to
know exactly where each grape is that goes into a Kumala bottle, how workers and land
are treated, what their ethical and sustainable practices are. We've got the volume
- now we need the authenticity."
recruited by brand owner Constellation last
year to look after its South African portfolio, has already
to improve quality.
He said: "We're really starting to see a resurgence in the brand. In August, our winemaker Ben Jordaan started procuring wine directly from producers." The brand's previous owners, Vincor and Western Wines, had sourced wine through brokers to keep up with demand. Constellation acquired the brand in 2006 when it bought Vincor.
The Kumala team
is working more closely with wine producers to
ensure they get "absolutely the best tanks for the money", Jack said.
He added the focus would be on "rebuilding the brand from a quality perspective". "Forgetting the hype and the marketing, I want to make Kumala a wine I'm really proud to stand beside when I talk to journalists and buyers".
Nielsen figures for Kumala show an 11 per cent drop in value sales - to £85.5 million - during the year to Jan 27 2007.