Boutinot is an international, UK-based wine business that works with over 150 producers worldwide. It also produces its own ranges of wines by working closely with winemakers in France, Italy and South Africa.
It all began in 1980 with Paul Boutinot, who used to source wines for his father's restaurant business. He was disappointed with the quality of the trade examples he found, and so he went to France to find higher-quality, better value wines. In 1989, he began blending his own wine at a site just outside the Beaujolais region, and things quickly expanded from there.
In 1993, Boutinot began producing wine with specially sourced, passionate producers in South Africa, and in 2004 the company opened its Waterkloof winery in Stellenbosch. More recently, Boutinot began working with Adria Vini - the leading co-op in Piedmont, Italy - and the company purchased vineyards in the Rhône region in 2010.
Since the beginning, the Boutinot philosophy has been simple: find producers who love what they do, who want to take risks and create new and exciting wines, and develop long-term relationships with them. It likes the terroir to do the talking, so the company works hard to create wines with minimal intervention so the regions' true characters can shine through. The other main aim is to find value for money at all price points, and in this sense the Percheron range is a particularly good example of Boutinot's success.
Boutinot's South African winemaker, Marinda Kruger-Van Eck, is based in Stellenbosch and is involved at all stages of the process from vineyard selection to the final blending. The Percheron range comes from carefully selected sites owned by enlightened growers in the Western Cape region who grow some of the country's less famous grape varieties: Boutinot's aim with Percheron is to showcase some of South Africa's forgotten treasures.
The wines are shipped in technologically advanced bulk containers to France where they are bottled at Boutinot's own production facility. This saves money for all involved and is more ecologically friendly than shipping glass over long distance.
Percheron Old Vine Cinsault is particularly popular: grown on gnarly 65 year old bush vines, there is little need for crop control because the vines are so old they naturally restrict yields by themselves. The team also doesn't use irrigation on these vineyards, and all grapes are hand harvested to ensure only the best fruit is selected.