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Old 18.05.2011, 00:42
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South African Wine opportunities

Hello wine lovers!

We are soon moving to CH (from Cape Town) and contemplating starting a business to import South African wines. (We currently live in the SA winelands and have spent quite a bit of time getting to know the producers here.) But first, I'd love to hear from you all.

1) Do you think that people in Switzerland would have a taste for SA wines? They are bolder than European - and also very reasonably priced.

2) Is it easy to find/buy South African wine in Switzerland? If so, who are the big sellers?

3) Any advice for us as we think through whether there is a market for this?

Thank you in advance for your inputs!
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Old 18.05.2011, 00:47
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

Never tasted SA wine before. Alkoomi is my fav.
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Old 18.05.2011, 01:21
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

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Hello wine lovers!

We are soon moving to CH (from Cape Town) and contemplating starting a business to import South African wines. (We currently live in the SA winelands and have spent quite a bit of time getting to know the producers here.) But first, I'd love to hear from you all.

1) Do you think that people in Switzerland would have a taste for SA wines? They are bolder than European - and also very reasonably priced.

2) Is it easy to find/buy South African wine in Switzerland? If so, who are the big sellers?

3) Any advice for us as we think through whether there is a market for this?

Thank you in advance for your inputs!
A) South African wines already ARE on the market here. But HERE are rather expensive
B) I have repeatedly tasted South African wines, and they are not different from European/Mediterranean or North American wines.
C) no, it is not easy to find South African wines in Switzerland if somebody is looking for them, so that there clearly is a market for a new entrant
D) you have to realize that it is a small country with quite a lot of sellers and so a lot of competion. The high-price-market segment is already well served. If you however get into this market by various products ranging from low-priced wines up to expensive ones, with a certain variety, your chance to make good business are good.
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Old 18.05.2011, 01:45
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

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B) I have repeatedly tasted South African wines, and they are not different from European/Mediterranean or North American wines.
You'd better written: I was unable to taste a difference.

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C) no, it is not easy to find South African wines in Switzerland if somebody is looking for them, so that there clearly is a market for a new entrant
Do you find googling difficult?

http://www.kapweine.ch
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Old 18.05.2011, 06:30
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

I know these guys very well, and their wine is excellent. Be warned that there is a lot of competition for wine importers/retailers here, I would say compete on quality (with one eye on price)

delkap
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  #6  
Old 18.05.2011, 09:11
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

There are already plenty of South African wines available in Switzerland. If you check out the catelogue for the last Expovina you will see well over 100 wines available for tasting there. They tend to be offered by the same dealers as those specialising in New World wines generally (Barossa for example) plus 1 or 2 specialists. In terms of quality style and price they tend to compete with mid-market wines from the likes of Australia, Chile and California - typically in the CHF 15 to 30 band. My own opinion based on what I have tasted so far is that they tend to be somewhat overpriced here compared to those other countries.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:01
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

Not really worth bringing over. There are 2 very large importers:

www.kapweine.ch
prices are really good. I grew up in Somerset West and went to school in Stellenbosch, been living here for 17 years.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:44
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

Without knowing much about the wine market, it's obvious from visiting Expovina and other food/wine shows that there is a lot of variety available. It's not all just European stuff here, many Swiss people I know really enjoy Californian or Australian wine, for example. Hess has a vineyard in South Africa, I believe.

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2) Is it easy to find/buy South African wine in Switzerland? If so, who are the big sellers?
If you go into a larger Coop where they have an extensive wine selection or a specialty shop once you get here, you'll get an idea of what I mean.

Good luck!
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  #9  
Old 18.05.2011, 13:47
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

If you can carve out a niche for clients, then why not? There are plenty of small wine merchants who are specialized in a specific region

The larger companies tend to cater the whole sale market (hotels, restaurants etc).

If you want to have it small, but extremely exclusive and can find rarities, it might be worth a try.

Make a research of the wines the bigger stores are selling and find something unique you can represent here.

Here a few links:

http://www.zweifelweine.ch/

http://www.martel.ch/

Also try to Google some caterers or specialty restaurants.

Good Luck
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Old 18.05.2011, 14:44
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

One company is always offering monthly tasting packs - 6 bottles every month for about Fr.120.

I stopped the service a few years ago when I had kids (less time to drink) and also because Fr.20 per bottle is a bit too much for my taste. Sorry, I can't seem to find any more details about this anymore, but I thought it was a good idea which spread to word of mouth.
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Old 18.05.2011, 15:52
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You can find SA wines in CH. Good ones too. As an example, Roodeberg (not saying it is most expensive/best, but it is well known at least for any SAffer) you can find in Denner Stores for CHF10.00+-. Sometimes they go on special for 8.95 or so.
Coop has a good selection too, but like the posts above says...selected and better wines are also to be found in other places.
I will have to google it up a bit, but there is a guy that has a selected and nice SA wine shop in Chur. I have not been there, but I have seen a while ago a post here on the forum about the specific shop. The owner is also on the EF (as I can recall).

We tried to import wines from SA for ourselves 5 yrs ago. But in the end with import duties it was not worth it (for us). BUT...find out from yr removal company (if you are moving a container over), because when we moved from SA to CH, I think one could take 100 bottles of wine with you (well, we certainly did!!).

I found the SA wine shop in Chur: It is called Gijimani in Chur.....
there was a thread on the forum re SA food/things saffers are missing and then the store/shop was mentioned for wines

Last edited by MusicChick; 18.05.2011 at 16:54. Reason: Merging successive posts.
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  #12  
Old 18.05.2011, 16:47
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

I have also thought of many business ideas, but the problem
always came with the import duties. They make the price
too high for many products.
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:05
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

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I have also thought of many business ideas, but the problem
always came with the import duties. They make the price
too high for many products.
Duty on wine isn't so bad as it's not value related but simply a tax per bottle .
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:39
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

I've worked in a local wine merchant's now for a while and sad to say, many Swiss are actually very negative towards buying SA wine - it's flown too far, what happened there in the past, etc etc. Also local restaurants aren't keen.
Very frustrating.
We do sell some good stuff including Major's Hill, Spice Route and Saronsberg, which you won't find in the supermarets. It is good stuff, high alcohol and relatively dear.
This puts many Swiss off, too.



All in all, I would advise great care and a great deal of preliminary research before you embark on this venture.
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:52
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

I think this will sound terribly ignorant, but trying to sell wine here could be like trying to sell foreign chocolate. The wine made here is too good (at least la Cote) and people like to stick to their own fav local wine makers.
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:55
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

as mentioned coop sells a bit of SA wine already, they mainly have nederburg which I find quite nice, the merlot was terrible though
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:56
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

We had occasions at my company where we opened a bottle of "Allesverloren" - mainly for the name of the winery...

You can buy SA wines at every supermarket (except of one chain that does not sell alcohol...). Biggest traders are most likely not the boutique dealers mentioned here, but the two supermarket chains Coop and Denner.

I will be honest: competition is fierce and the Swiss are absolutely not price sensitive - so if you want to get into the market, you need something more innovative than being 0.50 CHF cheaper than the rest.
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Old 18.05.2011, 18:05
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

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Duty on wine isn't so bad as it's not value related but simply a tax per bottle .
I was also referring to the general problem with import duties
in Switzerland althought the OP asked about wine.

I went on a small tangent.
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Old 18.05.2011, 18:24
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

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We had occasions at my company where we opened a bottle of "Allesverloren" - mainly for the name of the winery...

You can buy SA wines at every supermarket (except of one chain that does not sell alcohol...). Biggest traders are most likely not the boutique dealers mentioned here, but the two supermarket chains Coop and Denner.

I will be honest: competition is fierce and the Swiss are absolutely not price sensitive - so if you want to get into the market, you need something more innovative than being 0.50 CHF cheaper than the rest.
Agreed with this. I would add that the supermarket SA wine selection here is not that brilliant. So if you were to go slightly upmarket with more quality your plans may work.

Be aware I don't know all of the importers and what is imported ......

Wines like Bakensop Blanc de Blanc, Groot Constantia Blanc de Noir, Shiraz, wines also from here Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia - how could I forget wine from this winery Blaauwklippen!

For sure you have to import special wines to be different enough to attract attention over here and I don't mean Nederburg and the others stocked by Coop etc.

South Africa has an enormous amount of very pleasant wines. Spoilt for choice they be!

Last edited by electric_grey; 18.05.2011 at 18:43.
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Old 18.05.2011, 23:04
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Re: South African Wine opportunities

Hi,

I'd say you also want to to check out the various exhibitors at the wine fairs - e.g. Zürich and Basel - to see what they offer and what niche you could fill.

PS. At the Basel Weinmesse, we bought SA wines a couple of times from these guys: Savinis Wines. Perhaps have a look at what they offer and see what you can do differently.

Cheers,
Nick

Last edited by nickatbasel; 18.05.2011 at 23:08. Reason: PS
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