Upland is one of a few organic farms, and it has proven that it can run with the big dogs. During the 2022 awards, they were awarded a Gold award for their Earthsong MCC, and we just had to find out more about this unique estate.

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We asked Edmund Oettle from Upland some questions to find out more about the Estate:

Which of your wines are the favourites among younger consumers?

The MCC and the stuckiKAAP Port.  Our MCC is off-dry resonating with the developing palate and our stuckiKAAP port is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, in an unwooded style. We find that younger consumers like the simplicity of these products. 

Have you found a wine preference shift over the past few years, among younger wine consumers?

Definitely.  Young consumers are becoming more aware of their preferences.  They are also more vocal about it.  In earlier years, the youngsters would rock up for a tasting, and I would wonder what would come of it.  Now I am excited when I see a young group.  They sure do their homework before selecting estates to visit, so when they go to the trouble, you know they want to be there and have a fair idea of what they will expect.

If you have to plant some vineyards today that you will make wine from in five years, for the younger consumers, what cultivars would you plant?

I am not sure what to plant, but it will definitely have a great view and selfie spot.

I am happy with my vineyards, so if I do plant something, it will be tourism.  On a serious note, education is important for Upland Organic.  I would most likely create a space where younger consumers can really experience the vine-to-wine process.

Upland Earthsong MCC that won a Gold award (photo credit Hennie van Loggerenberg).
Edmund Oettle (Owner, winemaker and distiller)

How do manage your company image, and stay current and relevant, to appeal to younger consumers?

We try to stay true to who we are and do not manipulate our messaging.  Our marketing team is very in tune with us and our values. We cannot be something we are not.  Luckily for us, and the earth in general, the younger consumer market is taking more of an interest in sustainability and organic products, which makes us naturally relevant.

Oh, and selfie spots, of course.

What channels have you had success with, marketing to younger consumers, and does it change with time?

Instagram. It definitely changes over time.  We use images in marketing, and unfortunately, sometimes it is a hit, and at times a miss.  It seems to greatly depend on the current # trend.

Do you think there is any value in making use of social media influencers, and would you ever consider doing it, or have you perhaps tried this avenue before?

Only if they share your brand ethos.  We have worked with Dave Pepler in the past, who is also a good friend and really shares our values.

It is challenging to find influencers who are a brand fit and not just looking for clicks.  We are happy for any of them to reach out to us.

How often do you consider changes to your packaging, or having to create new incarnations of your wines to appeal to younger consumers?

We have recently launched two new products.  stuckiKAAP and Not Extinct, so we are open to change, but change comes with costs, and we are not big on waste. So… we will change the packaging when the time is ready. Until then, we hope our consumers are better educated than the average and make decisions based on quality.

What wine memory do you have as a young(er) person, when you fell in love with a particular wine?

A few years before settling on the farm, my wife (Elsie) and I were taking a drive and pulled over for a cup of coffee and some sightseeing on our way back to the city, where I still had my veterinary practice. We looked down on this quint estate and I told Elsie that one day we will buy that farm… Well, here we are today, 32 years later. 

I have a long-standing history with the Winelands, so it is really difficult to pin down when I fell in love with a wine, but we did fall in love with the farm.

With regard to wine…we visited Chile a few years back as a family and enjoyed wine there, called Neyen of the 2015 vintage.  This was really special.  When we rebrand the brandy, we will take some inspiration from this memory.

Contact person: Edmund Oettle

Email address: info@organicwine.co.za

Contact number: 082 7314 774

Website address: https://www.organicwine.co.za

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UplandOrganicEstate                           

Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/upland_organicwines