Malcolm Jolley interviews South African wine industry innovator Ross Sleet…
Anglo-South African Ross Sleet is the Managing Director and a founding partner of Rascallion Wines, a negociant based in Stellenbosch. Rascallion, which enters the Ontario market on August 31 with the release of the 2017 33 1/3 RPM*, a Chenin Blanc and Roussanne dominant white blend sourced from around The Cape, is a high concept company focused on the retail wine trade. As Sleet explained to me, when I met him in Toronto in July with his Ontario agent, Ruben Elmer of The Case For Wine, with hundreds of thousands of existing wine labels, the world is not exactly begging for new wines. Sleet, who has an ‘Wine MBA’ from the Royal Agricultural College, believes that with his extensive experience in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere, working for both big companies like Constellation and Distell, as well as small family-farm-based wineries, that he can marry the best marketing practices with consumer demand for high quality wines at fair prices. From what I’ve seen and tasted, he seems to be on the right track. In the GFR video interview below, Sleet tells me how and why Rascallion is a different kind of wine company.
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*Read my ‘Try This’ review of the 33 1/3 RPM here.