Venue Passion Media

A Good Year

Indonesia’s own winery, Hatten Wines, recently won the much coveted The 2017 Asian Wine Review Winery of the Year award. Proving once and again that grapes flourish on a tropical island, PASSION talks to its innovative founder, Ida Bagus Rai Budarsa, and finds out how Hatten Wines has ripened overtime and thrive against all odds.

Twenty three years have passed since Ida Bagus Rai Budarsa decided to expand his family distillery business to winery. Exploring the possibility of turning the local black grapes into good wine that before was unthinkable, he went on to build a winery in his hometown and worked with the local grape farmers of North Bali. The remnants from this humble beginning can be found in the form of grape pressing machine and manual corking instrument on the first floor of the The Cellardoor, Hatten Wines’ headquarter in Sanur.

The grand brick and concrete building narrates a story of how Bali’s first winery comes to be. On its first floor, visitors are welcomed to explore the taste of Hatten Wines and its South Australian sister, Two Islands. Aside from offering a range of lifestyle designer items that will cheer up any oenophile, the company also creates various programs to encourage learning for the next generation of wine professionals, connoisseurs, and individuals. The mission is in line with what Ida Bagus Rai Budarsa explains later at his office on the second floor, about the importance of wine is F&B industry.

“There is an unfortunate lack of education about wine in our industry. Wine is highly potential to make revenue in the F&B businesses but often I find that their staffs have no clue about how to sell the wine or explaining about the pairing to their customers. We are intent on fixing that,” states the CEO of Hatten Wines at his office. Armed with strong intention and passion for wine, the Balinese man is undoubtedly the reason behind the success of Indonesia’s leading winery. Under his leadership, the company continue to flourish despite the various challenges along the way. “We have faced plenty of ordeals, from the economic crisis to the Bali bombings. We have our ups and downs but for every problem, there has to be a solution. It has to be. As long as you have the passion and the perseverance, you can get through everything,” tells Budarsa. 

Together with 200 staffs and hundreds of local grape farmers, the winery manages to produce 1 million litres of the liquid often referred as the gift from God annually. Eighty percent of those bottled wines are distributed locally, with tourists making up for the thirsty main consumers. Another secret weapon of the company’s growth is James Kalleske. Since joining the company in 2012, the South Australian born Kalleske has been busy overseeing the winery operation and developing new products. Having grown up in Barrossa Valley and mentored by some of Australia’s respected winemakers, Kalleske skilfully contributed his expertise in the winemaking aspect of the company. 

The result of this intoxicating marriage of passion is clear in the winery’s latest products: the Two Islands Reserve. Made from imported South Australian grapes and painstakingly created to explore the boundary of what Hatten Wines can achieve in winemaking, the 2014 Reserve wines are available in limited quantity. “We believe in the importance of innovation and producing premium wines such as the Chardonnay, Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon is an important milestone for our winery,” states Budarsa, before happily shares the story about his recent trip to Hong Kong where the winery received its latest recognition in the prestigious Asian Wine Review. 

The Asian Wine Review is the trusted guide on Asian wine production, covering the wineries in the vast region and establishing standard for regional winemakers. It was founded by Eddie McDougall and his passionate team at The Flying Winemaker. Now at its second year, over 100 wineries across Asia submitted close to 300 of their best wines to be vigorously blind-tasted by a panel of 10 judges from all sectors of wine industry including on-premise, media, distribution, and production. “Six of our wines received medals and that is why we won the Winery of the Year award,” states Budarsa proudly.
He claims to be humbled by the experience. “It is heartening to witness the growth of Asian wineries over the years. The quality of the wine is increasing every year, as well as the demands. China, Japan, Thailand, India, Myanmar, as well as us in Indonesia... we manage to prove that we also can produce good wine,” claims Budarsa before having another sip of the 2014 Two Islands Reserve Shiraz and ending the conversation in a full-bodied, perfumed, and ripe notes. After more than two decades, Hatten Wines does prove something about wine: it gets better with age. (*)

The Cellardoor
Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai No. 393 Sanur Bali
P +62 361 472 1377