Indonesia Expat
Business/Property

I Heard it Through the Grapevine: Hatten Wines

 

Hatten Wines is 100 percent Balinese and owned by a prominent Sanur family. In 1968, Ida Bagus Oka Gotama started Brem Bali, a company making rice wine, brem, and rice alcohol arak. The distillery is still in operation to this day and produces a professional version of these local drinks.

Hatten Wines was established in 1994 and started with the fresh Rosé wine, for which the company is now famous. The choice seemed sensible; given the warm summery climate of Bali, Hatten Wines was introducing the perfect chilled wine for its restaurant and hotel clients. Since then, the company’s aim is to produce quality wines that are suited for both the tropical climate and the spicy and delicious foods of Indonesia.

With the help of a French winemaker and a team of dedicated sales people, Hatten Wines grew bigger year by year after introducing a traditional méthode champenoise sparkling rosé. In the year 2001, after celebrating its 100th vintage of the Rosé, Hatten Wines slowly introduced a white wine and a white brut méthode champenoise sparkling, a light red wine, and a fortified Pineau des Charentes method.

Today, Hatten Wines products are found on most of Bali and Indonesia’s tables. Over the past few years with Australian Winemaker James Kalleske, the winery has collected awards from prestigious competitions and accolades from wine experts and writers, and has also been featured in articles and books worldwide.

Maryse LaRocque, Marketing Advisor of Hatten Wines
Maryse LaRocque, Marketing Advisor of Hatten Wines

We find out more from Hatten Wines’ Marketing Advisor, Maryse LaRocque.

Which of your wines is most popular?

Most of the Two Islands range is quite popular; wines made by introducing frozen Australian grapes, which are then vinified in Bali. The brand is reminiscent of the relationship between Bali and Australia, and the assortment includes a lively and fresh Chardonnay, a floral and fruity Riesling, a ruby red peppery Shiraz and a full-bodied, fruity flavoured Cabernet Merlot. In 2015, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc were added to the list.

In the Balinese wines range, Hatten Wines, the best seller is the Aga White. But personally I think Alexandria should be. It’s difficult; you’re asking me to choose which one of my children I prefer!

How many bottles do you produce and sell a year?

We produce over one million litres a year.

Can you tell us why you chose North Bali to grow your grapes?

Hatten Wines owns and harvests 35.5 hectares worth of succulent grapes in Buleleng. With over 14 years of development and improvement, the vineyards of Hatten Wines have already reached the maturity of vines of other new world wines. The North Coast of Bali has long been a grape growing area and growers have found this region suitable, owing to the abundance of sunshine, clear mountain water and rich volcanic soil found in the area.

Growing grapes in Bali started in the 1970s, but it is only a few decades ago – after multiple trials and errors, survival to parasites and other vine diseases – that the grapes were grown with satisfaction on a commercial scale and found in markets all over the archipelago. The final choice was a black table grape variety of French origin called Alphonse Lavallée.

Do you encourage tourists to visit your vineyard in North Bali?

Yes, you can find out all about visiting our vineyard at our website: www.hattenwines.com/vineyards-welcome-center. It’s important to note that our vineyard is about 45 minutes away from Lovina. We have started an alliance with three other companies located in North Bali to promote the North Coast. Please visit www.visitnorthbali.com for more information.

What is the growth cycle of your grapes grown in Bali?

Grapes are constantly harvested from evergreen vines and wine can be produced all year long instead of once a year.

While vines usually require a dormant period of cooler months, the vines in tropical Bali produce grapes continuously in 120-day cycles. The varieties grown in Bali are the local Propolinggo Biru, the French grape Alphonse-Lavallée and the Belgia.

What is the price range of your wines?

In Bali, our wines go for between Rp.184,000 for a still wine and Rp.294,000 for a sparkling method traditionelle.

What shipping process do foreign wines have to go through before they make it on the shelves of stores in Indonesia?

In reality, we can easily imagine: months at sea (not always in refrigerated containers), weeks or months at customs, on the dock (not always in refrigerated areas), and on trucks from the main ports of Java to Bali (not always in refrigerated trucks). This is one reason why buying a locally made wine can seem more appealing.

What unique characters do grapes grown in tropical climates produce?

Simply understanding the concept of terroir, we can imagine that the grapes have a great influence from the climate and surroundings they are grown in. Their character varies between varieties but has similarities with local fruit and ingredients.

You now offer sommelier classes at your new Hatten Wine Building. Can you reveal more about this?

The Wine Classroom at the Hatten Wines Building is a new facility dedicated to wine education in Bali, with classes ranging from wine appreciation in short and long versions, to a certification in wine knowledge, and sommelerie. This industrial-chic Wine Classroom also features classes for hospitality professionals, ranging from restaurant profitability and wine list efficiency management, to the Art of the Table.

What are the pros and cons of growing grapes in a tropical climate?

For sure the heat and sun damage are hard on the viticulturist’s work.

How long did it take Hatten to get the recipe right?  

The ‘recipe’ remains; it’s the people we have who change and have the greatest influence. I would say with James Kalleske joining, we have pretty much found a great guy! 

Many people are saying that Hatten wines have improved immensely in tastes since it was first born in 1994. What do you think contributed to this?

A great winemaker, more research and development – and patience.

Why do many people still have a negative opinion towards local wines? What are you doing to change this?

We attend competitions and win big medals, attend events abroad and have more people abroad respecting us. We also receive very high ratings by wine writers, and have founded the Asian Wines Producers Association along with high quality wine producers. We continue to do our best. Some day the harshest critics will recognize our hard work. For now, the wine industry and wine experts recognize us – that’s all we need as a stamp of approval.

Do you have any new products launching this year?

Yes, a Reserve.

You have a couple of competitors in Bali. What makes Hatten Wines stand out?

Firstly, we don’t have enough competitors in Bali. We need more wineries to come and establish themselves here, raise the bar, create an association, and promote wine tourism! We are not better; we are different from other wines produced here. We all produce very different wines; none are alike, which is the beauty of having many producers. The more the merrier. Nappa Valley was not made with one winery!

Thank you, Maryse. To get in touch, please email: info@hattenwines.com

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