Faraway Blog

A way Forward for the South African Wine Industry

  • Written by Mike Ratcliffe

An edited extract from a speech about Leadership in the Wine Industry made by Michael Ratcliffe at the Stellenbosch  launch of the book ‘Grape - from Slavery to BEE’ by Dr. Wilmot James, Prof Jakes Gerwal and Jeanne Viall.

Would it be inappropriate to ask just who is in charge of the South African wine industry? Who is providing overall leadership for the industries growth and development and who is laying the groundwork for a sustainable future?

The South African wine industry is having a tough time. The trading environment is brutal and global economic conditions show little evidence of improving. The industry is beset with challenges and is in need of direction. Where is the decisive strategic thinking, the ambitious and bold master plan and the careful thought that characterises the most successful global businesses? Where is the cut and thrust?

Read more

SA in USA: Growing Category from the Ground Up

  • Written by Ross Sleet

It’s always good to journey to a country that you think you know and then have your eyes peeled back like a banana skin. In October I spent a whirlwind 10 days in the USA; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa, St Helena, Sonoma, Boston, and Connecticut. Not good for my body, let alone my credit card! The most important learning of this business trip was that the lingering suspicions and half truths concerning the South African wine category in the USA that I picked up last year on a brief New York / New Jersey trip were categorically confirmed. Before I trumpet alleged pearls of wisdom, let me say that when it comes to selling South African wine in the USA, Cape Classics appear to be doing an excellent if lonely job. Time and time again I came across brands that this company represents standing alone like lost soldiers, valiantly flying the South African flag where none other was to be found.

Read more