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Story of Haselgrove Wines – McLaren Vale

South Australia’s wine industry is responsible for over half the production of all Australian wine. The diverse geographic climate allows a range of grape varieties to be grown. The world’s most tantalising wines are produced in this State and it’s ideal timing for us to feature a truly inspiring South Australian wine turnaround story – that of Haselgrove Wines.

Name
Mr Christophe Forel
Business Name
Haselgrove Wines

Story of Haselgrove Wines – McLaren Vale

South Australia’s wine industry is responsible for over half the production of all Australian wine. The diverse geographic climate allows a range of grape varieties to be grown. The world’s most tantalising wines are produced in this State and it’s ideal timing for us to feature a truly inspiring South Australian wine turnaround story – that of Haselgrove Wines.

Story of Haselgrove Wines – McLaren Vale

South Australia’s wine industry is responsible for over half the production of all Australian wine. The diverse geographic climate allows a range of grape varieties to be grown. The world’s most tantalising wines are produced in this State and it’s ideal timing for us to feature a truly inspiring South Australian wine turnaround story – that of Haselgrove Wines.

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When McLaren Vale winery Haselgrove Wines was awarded Winestate’s 2017 Wine Company & Winemaker Of The Year award relatively few people would have understood the true significance of the development. Winning what is arguably the most prestigious wine industry award in Australia would be a major achievement for any wine company but for Haselgrove, it crowned one of the biggest turnarounds the Australian wine industry has ever seen.

Haselgrove was established in 1981 and is surrounded by over 10 hectares of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mataro vines. With some Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines dating back more than 60 years, it’s no wonder Haselgrove is a James Halliday 5 Red Star Winery. Whilst renowned for producing rich and robust award winning reds from McLaren Vale, Haselgrove’s whites are also making ripples with wine writers and on the wine show circuit.

McLaren Vale is the heart of Australian wine country and a perfect place to create world class, iconic and award winning wines. In 1999, Haselgrove built it’s Winery. Fascinatingly, in 2008, over a game of cards and couple of hearty reds four Italian-Australian industry veterans made the decision to purchase the Haselgrove Winery. Don Totino, Don Luca, Steve Maglieri and Tony Carrocci invested time and passion to revamp the brand, it’s presentation and entire range of wines.

Haselgrove Wines – Leader takes the Reins

Taylor’s Wines. Upon Forel’s appointment as CEO to Haselgrove in 2015, it had experienced nearly 10 years of annual losses. However, Forel was determined to set Haselgrove on the trajectory to success.

When Forel took over the reins as CEO of Haselgrove Wines, he knew full well he had a massive challenge on his hands. Whilst he had learned the ins and outs of his trade at Taylor’s, it would be over a year from the day he joined Haselgrove that the test of the job would allow him a regular full night’s sleep again.

In 2015, Haselgrove Wines was in a precarious financial situation (with the near ten years of heavy annual losses). Without a comprehensive route to market, shareholders were forced to prop the business up with cash injections and, operationally, Haselgrove Wines was simply not geared to make profit.

As so often occurs with a struggling business, Haselgrove had rung up substantial debt and had developed an unfortunate reputation as a slow payer. From a brand perspective, although there was plenty to work with, there was much that still needed to be achieved in order to reinvigorate and re-engage with the end consumer.

Turnaround – Hard Work, Determination and Opportunity

Staff morale was also low as the Company had undergone a succession of leadership changes over the space of just a few years. On the positive side, Forel soon learned that the Haselgrove Wines operational team were highly talented and experienced winemakers and this gave him the confidence to implement a strong turnaround strategy.

Forel’s first port of call was to get the fundamentals in place. Strengthening Haselgrove Wines’ financial position and developing a solid business plan were the blueprints for Forel’s vision. This was achieved by reducing costs and overheads where possible, adding value to the asset position and growing much-needed sales.

 “This winery is on the move”

James Halliday, Wine Companion 2015

With approval from the experienced and supportive Board of Directors, Haselgrove Wines soon had a strategic approach that focussed on long term, sustainable growth. Forel’s three-pronged approach ensured all key business units started to fire simultaneously – those being:

  • Bulk sales (simple in theory, very tricky to execute…);
  • Custom Crush – a crushing / processing service offered to other wineries as a source of income for the company in addition to improving economies of scale; and
  • Haselgrove branded product – the company’s wine range was attractively re-branded and is now marked by products that are building an increasingly strong brand and fan base.

The release by the Korean Airlines First Class listing of the Haselgrove COL CROSS Single Vineyard Shiraz 2011 and Business Class listing of the Haselgrove CATKIN Shiraz 2012 is an exciting addition to the expansion of Haselgrove consumption around the world.

Haselgrove Wines (Korean Media Link)

On the horizon for Haselgrove Wines is a Cellar Door

From an operational perspective, and with a long term view, Forel initiated smarter fruit purchases backed by a clear and realistic plan to grow the company’s branded product. Clever use of oak has been applied that will see the company’s First Cut Shiraz increase from 3,000 9LE (cases of 12) to over 5,000 9LE from the 2017 vintage onwards.

On the horizon for Haselgrove Wines includes the establishment of its first on-site cellar door facility, which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year. In addition, in line with current trends, Haselgrove will shortly be releasing it’s ‘Alternative Series’, which will feature emerging varietals that have proven to be well suited to McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate. With contemporary, punchy packaging, a Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Fiano and Grenache Rose make up the new range.

Well poised, the wines are bright and fresh, yet structural examples of each respective varietal. Haselgrove’s wines will also be on display at ProWein in Germany in mid-March, the world’s leading wine and spirits trade fair.

International recognition in China late last year (5 Double Gold and 2 Gold medals), Korea & New Zealand has helped lift export sales substantiallyHaselgrove Wines is now in a solid financial position with sales having increased by a staggering 43%. The year has also started off very well for Haselgrove with a string of wonderful reviews and awards for its products. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities Haselgrove presents both nationally and internationally, get in touch with the executive team here.;

Winestate Magazine – Wine Company & Winemaker of the Year 2017

Haselgrove ‘Hand Picked Wine Club’

You can become a Haselgrove ‘Hand Picked Wine Club’ member online to receive regular supplies of the award winning wines. Simply click on ‘Select Your Own’ to create your own pack, then select the shipment dates you prefer and checkout as normal.

Included in the club membership is:

  • 20% off all our wines all year round
  • Free delivery on all orders
  • Access to pre-release and back-vintage wines
  • Invitations to exclusive Members-only wine events
  • Half yearly Members only wine dinners
Name
Mr Christophe Forel
Business Name
Haselgrove Wines