Janneke Rutten launched her own wine company in 2008. After a career in the wine industy with such illustrious names as Oud Reuchlin & Boelen, Heineken, Hema and the Wijnmakelaarsunie (NL nd BE) she set up Intense Wines. Her mission: to bring Fair Trade and organic wine to a broad audience while maintaining a fair price-quality balance.
Janneke and her team of five wine professionals recognise that there is room for expansion in the wine market to cater for consumers focussed on a more efficient, healthier and sustainable lifestyle. The company has its home in the historic Jordenshuis in the bustling heart of Deventer. Janneke trained as an agricultural engineer, earned a Masters degree in International Business and studied winemaking in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The wines are sourced from renowned wine houses and farming cooperatives which have been producing pure wines with pleasure and passion for years: organic, bio-dynamic, CO2-neutral, vegan, nature-friendly, sustainable wines. Intense Wines helps these farmers to connect more closely with the market by collaborating with them to develop wine blends and brands that appeal to the consumer. Intense Wines is also a partner in a wine company in South Arica.
The formula is working well. The company offers separate selections of wine for the hospitality/wine sector and for retail/supermarket outlets. Janneke: “Many renowned restaurants and also specialist wine retailers buy from us because we offer outstanding wines for a fair price”. Restaurants include Lemon Tree, Jackies, St. Maxime and Zwarte Silo (formally Fooddock) in Deventer, wine houses De Wingerd in Gorssel and Vinostoria in Diepenveen. Intense Wines is also proud to supply organic and Fair Trade wines to almost all supermarket chains in The Netherlands and is making inroads in the export market, selling to neighbouring countries and to Scandinavia. Janneke: “We aim to persuade retail, hospitality, hotel and catering and their wholesalers to purposely choose sustainable, organic and Fair Trade wines that can usually be supplied at no extra cost.” One success story is our relationship with the Coop retail chain; one third of its entire wine selection now comprises organic and Fair Trade wines, supplied by us. Also, we have been making wines for nearly 10 years for the restaurant chain La Place.
Organic wine is produced in a natural way, without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides or genetic modification. Since 2011 strict regulations govern the term ‘organic’. Not only do the grapes themselves have to be cultivated organically, additives have to be kept to a minimum. Organic wine makers also try to avoid adding sulphites. Partly as a result of the Intense Wines mission, sales of organic wines in the Netherlands and beyond are enjoying a sharp increase in sales.
The aim of Intense Wines is to continue to grow, particularly abroad, and to expand its international markets beyond Europe; there is a growing middle class in emerging countries where there is a clear demand for outstanding, organic wines with an honest story.
Intense Wines | Janneke Rutten