Empowerment approach for SAWITU’s new brand home for wine

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Article, News

Empowerment approach: Dr Caleb Oluwafemi, ARC Research Team Manager: Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies, Mrs Derusha Crank, ARC Marketing & Communications, Mrs Wendy Petersen, SAWITU Operations Manager,  Dr Bongani Ndimba, Senior Research Manager: ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij and Mr Prem Naidu, Managing Partner: Next Generation Beverages.

The South African Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU) recently announced the development of a brand home for black-owned wine brands, which will be hosted in the tasting room and cellar complex at the Agricultural Research Council’s Nietvoorbij Campus in Stellenbosch. 

This project, which will provide market access for black-owned brands into the local and international markets, is a collaborative initiative with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA).

An integrated approach

The project has an integrated empowerment approach.  “Our approach challenges the slow pace of transformation’s status quo.  Not only will the individual brands share facilities and business space, they will also be assisted and mentored by an expert supply chain management company we appointed to manage the day to day operations of the facility and the route-to-market strategy plan“, says Wendy Petersen, operations manager of SAWITU. 

SAWITU sourced black-owned service providers for this project. “True transformation happens when we include B-BBEE preferential procurement suppliers into the wine value chain and ensure that economic benefits are far-reaching, creating growth and sustainability,” says Petersen.  

Next Generation Beverages Group (NGBG) is a 100% black-owned distribution company and has positioned themselves as a service provider in the South African wine industry.  NGBG will provide a four-tier service to SAWITU, which includes the management of the tasting- and e-commerce facility, supply chain and logistics management and the route-to-market offering.  They will also manage the contractual agreements with wine brands and other operational service providers.   

“At Next Generation Beverages we pride ourselves on delivering service excellence and we are very proud and excited to be chosen as partners in this first and pioneering initiative led by the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit”, says Prem Naidu, Managing Partner of Next Generation Beverages.  

The owners bring with them a wealth of knowledge and more than two decades’ experience of global sales and marketing in the wine and liquor industry.  They have been assisting the brands with their individual, target-specific sales and marketing strategies in preparation for occupancy at the brand home.  

A new e-commerce platform, that will allow B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) sales from the premises, was developed by Winecolumn.co.za, a renowned and trusted Wine & Spirits e-commerce specialist in the wine industry.  The development of the e-commerce platform was funded by the WCDoA, who supported the Brand Home initiative from the start.

“I am very excited about this development. It is an open secret that the South African wine Industry is very strategic for the economy and the e-commerce initiative will not only deepen consumer awareness about the black-owned brands but will also allow them to sell their excellent products using this platform. This is essential for our economic recovery and the sustainability of these SMME’s will strengthen their continued participation in the value chain – thereby, contributing to economic growth,” says Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, Head of Agriculture in the Western Cape.

“We are truly honoured to be at the forefront of transformation through e-commerce and tech development. We believe this initiative will be a model to inspire and encourage other developed wine markets worldwide to advance diversity”, says Nkonzo Mbetha from Winecolumn.co.za 

As the brand home is hosted in a historic building, the renovations must be done within the required legislative framework. HB Architects, in collaboration with RB Building Services, has been appointed to skillfully merge the existing historic building with modern interior design.

A place of belonging

The brand home will have a warm and welcoming ambience that reflect the nature of the diverse South African people. “It will be a place where people are comfortable, feel at home and that they belong”, says Wendy. 

The design includes open areas for easy flow of visitors as well as closed spaces that accommodate small groups for private tastings and business meetings.  The brands will also be able to display their limited edition and special release wines in a designated area. 

The name of the facility and the participating brands will be announced at the official launch of the Brand Home.  The product offering will include a range of wines at various price points and market positioning to cater for a diverse consumer need. 

“In September we celebrate our South African heritage, tourism month and the 150th anniversary of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.  It would only be right to follow these celebrations with a new beginning for our wine brands.  The Brand Home will thus be launched in October 2021,” says Wendy.

Visit their website www.witu.co.za for more information about SAWITU and follow us on Facebook (@WITURSA), Twitter (@witu_sa) or LinkedIn (SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit). 

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