Background


When, in 1994, Storm Kreusch decided to leave the winemaking business to spend more time with her daughter, Danica, little did she realise that it was the lull before the storm that was to break a few months later. A jovial dinner party ended up with Storm committing her and her family to building a winery, from ground up, in the suicidally short time of two-and-a-half months, to be ready for the 1995 harvest.

And so WhaleHaven was born. With limited funding and basic equipment Storm set about the project with just a handful of helpers - her husband Claus; baby Danica; marketing assistant, Jacqueline Schneider; and cellar assistants Pyp and Charles Botha. Land was purchased at the gateway to the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, on the main road leading into Hermanus, and a modern split-level cellar was built to make wines from grapes grown further up in the valley.

New meaning was added to the term fast-track building. The first sod was turned on 5 December 1994 and on 15th February 1995 the first grapes started rolling into the cellar. Admittedly the builders were still finishing the cellar floor, there was no electricity ( the hired generator could not run the cooler and the press simultaneously and the de-stalker had not arrived ( so the chardonnay had to be whole-bunch pressed). And the problems did not abate; the de-stalker spat out its first load of Pinot noir, a burst pipe spewed shiraz juice everywhere in a crude and colourful christening of the cellar and what was left in the tank fermented to overflowing. The fully-laden trailer unhitched and rolled more than once; and so on and so on.

The setbacks were overcome as one "boer plan" after another was made. All the wines were finally settled and on June 8th 1995 the first wines were released; the 1995 Sauvignon Blanc and an unwooded red blend, the 1995 Baleine Noire, both made for early drinking.

THE NAME

The philosophy behind the name, WhaleHaven, is simple and obvious. Storm Kreusch explains : "We decided to capture the essence of Hermanus, with a name that is distinct and recognizable, without having to unearth a name with some remote historic connection."

Walker Bay is now synonymous with the Southern Right whale because of its increasing numbers in the bay. These gentle giants enthral many a visitor to Hermanus with their lazy frolicking, sometimes mere metres from the shore. Here they seek refuge to breed, safe from the stormy seas of the southern oceans.

The name of WhaleHavens Baleine Noire wine is taken form the French for whale - literally "black whale". The distinct WhaleHaven label was, appropriately, designed by a local resident, Tertia Knaap, who skillfully moulded the WhaleHaven Wines initials into a crest in the shape of an old whaling boat. Southern Right whales are so-called because they are slow-moving and hence were easily caught by the early whalers; they were the "right" whale to hunt.

THE MOTTO, THE LOGO AND THE LABEL

The motto was written on the wall. "Granted by Providence, Gilded with Harmony", fell into place as events concerning the winery unfolded. The daunting task of designing a logo, and ultimately a label, which would reflect the essence of WhaleHaven Wines, was assigned to local graphic artist Tertia Knaap.

The need for a unique, striking label was recognised in lieu of the fact that there are over 240 cellars producing wine in South Africa, and many labels to chose from. It was decided to move away from the South African tendency of including a Cape Dutch farmhouse, a cellar structure or a family crest. Tertia embraced the challenge (which included adding grace to the graceless shape of the Southern Right whale, as well as ensuring that the labeled bottle of wine could not be associated with any tinned-fish product!).

She created this impressive label, now used by WhaleHaven Wines. The WHW, representative of the name WhaleHaven Wines, is the form of a ship which is moving ahead. The whale connection is depicted on the main sail of the boat, and is flying high - indicative of the regard we have for whales. The treasure-theme, resembling value and quality, is carried through by enclosing the above in a circular shape of a coin, which also carries the motto - "Granted by Providence, Gilded with Harmony".

The mission statement was developed from the motto and the fact that WHW is a statement in itself. Harmony is so often associated with Providence. The commitment of the WHW team as well as the energy and enthusiasm with which the winery is run, is evidence that WHW is gilded with Harmony. With Providence as our guide, and Harmony as our shield, we will strive to produce quality wines, remain exclusive and offer reputable service. We stand outspoken and bold, but always accessible to those interested in WHW.

Whalehaven Wines
+27 28 316-1633