Luxury Media Africa spoke with Anelise Taljaard of Taillard Wines, about her entry and success into the South Africa wine industry.
The middle daughter of Pieter and Anneke Taljaard she said, “I grew up in a loving environment with parents who taught me to be the best I can be. They supported me in all my dreams, even though they sometimes knew some were destined for failure. I was allowed the freedom to make these mistakes and to learn from them, as well as the security of knowing that they were there for me”.
Anelise is a qualified architect with a Master in Business Administration. She has an insatiable thirst for continued learning. She is married and blessed with two children, and her husband is the most supportive, compassionate and intelligent person she knows. It is this support that allows her to be in control of her business, and in turn to manage her time around her family. “You have to learn to be kind to yourself and to not feel unnecessary guilt over the small things, she says”. Strong family support is critical to her business success. To create a lifestyle balance between business ventures and her family’s interests, Anelise has developed her own rituals and celebrations for her family that gives everyone a sense of belonging. This creates security in the knowledge that no matter what happens in the world, the family is a safe place where one can find support. Anelise makes it a priority to have quiet time in her busy schedule. She has art classes once a week with her daughter, which is her form of therapy. She also schedules holidays with her husband without the kids to ensure they remain connected and remember to have fun.
“Coming from a corporate background, I was thrown into the deep end, having to learn everything from scratch and I’m still learning even now. I was lucky to have a few willing mentors to assist me on my journey – my dad who was my biggest supporter and critic, the farm manager who has the patience of a saint and the wine loving community, said Anelise”. She also believes she is only as good as the people she surrounds herself with and they are only as good in their jobs as she allows them to be.
Taillard Family Wines famously known as boutique wines, differ from other wines as they honour and celebrate the grapes and the terroir in the wine making process. The cue is taken from the grapes harvested in a specific year when deciding on the style of wine to make. This differs year on year, based on the weather of the preceding season and the vineyard the grapes are harvested from. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into making boutique wines and only the best juice is used to ferment into wines.
Anelise sees herself as a person with a special set of skills, rather than a woman in business. She has never intentionally used her gender as an excuse or weapon, but admits there are some challenges she has encountered. The biggest lesson she has learned is to respect her brand. “The public will take their cue from you when forming their opinion of your brand – if you cheapen your brand they will not see the need to pay for something you are prepared to give away for free. It is a fine balance in making your product known to the public, while still maintaining the integrity and inherent value in your brand, says Anelise”. She adds that she is just following her dream, and as for her being a woman it does not define her or the way she makes decisions, it is just a part of who she is.
She was taught never to question her own abilities because she is a woman and has never allowed anyone else to do so. She applies tenacity and creative thinking in dealing with business challenges. Her problem solving technique is outcomes based. “First I decided where I want to end up and then work on a plan to get there. Take emotions out of the equation and everything seems easier. Sometimes, time is the best solution, she says”.
Taillard Family wines have had invaluable partnerships which have been vital for growth, not only in the industry but even across other industries. Anelise believes in the principles as promoted by Dr Ivan Misener – Givers Gain. It is about networking and following up on promises. It’s no use talking a good story only to contradict yourself by your actions (or inaction’s). Don’t always look for the obvious collaborations. I have found some amazing opportunities hidden in seemingly random encounters. The recent international award was a great high for Taillard wines and gives us the confidence to market internationally knowing that we can compete on any stage. The award was based on quality, price and packaging as judged by buyers – our target market. We currently exports to Belgium only and almost sold out at the launch.
Technology in business has made connecting and communication easier but nothing beats the advantage of face to face meetings.
Her advice to women looking to venture into the wine industry and those wanting to start up their own businesses in general is to spend a lot of time with other people in the industry who you trust. Just because something has always been done a certain way it does not mean that’s the only way. “Make mistakes, brush it off, get up and try again, ask for help and always have fun. Don’t see yourself as a woman in business; don’t label yourself, as there are enough people on your journey trying to do that for you. Don’t entertain any comment on your gender when dealing with anyone because if you acknowledge it you might just start believing it. Trust yourself, she says”. Anelise is willing to mentor other young women looking to grow in the wine industry.
For more information on Taillard Family wines please refer to: www.taillardwines.com