Sun 9 Jan 2011
I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the new Brampton Wine Studio in the heart of Stellenbosch, a small space with the most attractive interior design, which had been done by Nica Design Studio, and which opened two months ago.
Brampton is a Rustenburg brand which was recently taken over by DGB Wines. Its marketing strategy is to bring its wine range to the market, and to not expect its market to find its wines on a farm. The bottom end of Church Street has become trendy, with a Vida e Caffè, the Dylan Lewis gallery, the Dorp Street gallery, a pearl shop with the most unusual decor, and the very good De Oude Bank Bakkerij, and Brampton’s Wine Studio adds a touch of class to this collection. The Brampton capsules and the wine labels were redesigned when the brand went to DGB, I was told by charming and informative Manager Harry Joubert.
A blackboard covers one wall, and in a funky handwriting details the cost of the tasting (R25 for 5 wines), that delivery of the wines to anywhere in the Western Cape is free of charge, and that food is served, being different dishes every day. Dishes available on the day that I visited were a salami, guacamole, peppadew, and feta wrap, and a mushroom potato bake, both served with a salad and costing a most affordable R35. A platter of five cheeses with biltong, grapes and figs costs R57. The blackboard section about the food is not very visible, so it was a surprise to hear that food is served, and is worth asking for. The mushroom and potato bake was served with a material serviette and stylish cutlery, and one sits at wooden tables with trendy black plastic chairs with a ‘woven’ look. Origin coffee is used to make coffees, the cappuccino machine still being awaited.
Harry told me that the Brampton wines are made from grapes which come from Elgin, Paarl and Stellenbosch, and that each variety of Brampton is made by a different DGB winemaker. All the Brampton winemakers get together, however, to ensure consistency in brand character. The company is very focused on reducing its carbon footprint, and that is why there is little paper in the Tasting Studio, all information being on the blackboard, and what is printed is done so on recycled paper. Local suppliers are used as far as possible. The Brampton wines are very affordable, the 2010 Rosé costing R39,95; the Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Chardonnay 2010 and Viognier 2008 costing R49,95; and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, both 2008 vintages, costing R54,95. I had a small glassful of Sauvignon Blanc, and loved its fruity and refreshing taste on a hot Stellenbosch day.
I love what DGB has done with Brampton in Stellenbosch from a marketing perspective, and also its modern classy design. It will be interesting to see if the wine consumer will buy wines from a ‘tasting shop’, rather than from a wine estate. Hats off to DGB for doing something new and different in wine marketing!
Brampton Wine Studio, 11 Church Street, Stellenbosch. The Order Form does not list their street address in Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 883-9097. www.brampton.co.za (The website has no reference to the new Brampton Wine Studio, and does not seem to have been updated since the take-over by DGB). Monday - Friday 10h00 - 19h00, Saturday 10h00 - 14h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage