JohnFraserDevelopment in wine industry
John Fraser from Classic FM interviews Denver Williams about Developmental issues in the wine industry


JOHN FRASER: In our small business slot this evening we’re talking about an industry we love to talk about - the South African wine industry - very important for development, for tourism, for keeping us smiling over a good meal, but what are they doing for the small business. We’ll find out now when we talk to the executive manager for the Wine Industry Development Association, Denver Williams.

To what extent are small businesses on your agenda?

DENVER WILLIAMS: It plays a huge role on our agenda. That’s part of our main purpose, which is to help these small businesses establish themselves and become major players within the industry. They are our main focus.

JOHN FRASER: Obviously some wine farms themselves are small businesses but what areas of procurement for instance could a small business find itself in related to the wine industry.

There are various avenues obviously. The wine industry is a very varied and wide industry but for us, we try and help where we can as far as the marketing is concerned. Our philosophy is once you have a market all the other things will fall into place. What many small businesses do is they start first with the procurement and then they look for a market. So, we are saying lets start from the other side - first find a market and then go and procure your wines, you then know what is required then you're speaking from a more knowledgeable base as to what your market needs.

What sort of successes have you achieved so far?

We have quite a few successes, notably we launched with the Cape Town Festival and the restaurant that this festival was launched at, we supplied them with some wines and they are now going to use our small winemakers as one of their house wines. That in itself is a success. Another success is when we had the launch of WIDA and what we had done was give the small winemakers an opportunity to showcase their wines and an insurance company with a similar name and synergies was interested in buying into the company because thy obviously had the same synergies and they could identify with that. So, those are the kinds of opportunities that we like to create as far as marketing is concerned.

JOHN FRASER: What do you find are the biggest challenges facing the start up small business in the wine industry?

DENVER WILLIAMS: Finance - that would be the biggest challenge. However, people go into it with a notion of branding, and they believe that when they have a label that they're going to be successful. Labels don’t make you successful. It is what those labels say and that is usually the biggest challenge because they have this starry-eyed business deal and think that we’re going to sell millions of litres because everybody else does. But when you look at the established wineries or farms, they're not really established, it’s the brands that are established and that is the biggest challenge - to get their brands established - because that’s the relationship that you're going to build with your clientéle.

A very useful insight…