Does South African Wine Have An Image Problem?

South African Andre Shearer was a teetotaling, vegetarian male model who knew nothing about wine when he stumbled into the business with his brother Gary back in 1992. Today their company, Cape Classics, is the largest importer of South African wine in the United States.

Andre and I sat down to chat about this amazing journey and his continuing frustration from the lack of consumer interest in South African wine. He says that most of the time, “When people walk into a wine shop they are not looking for South Africa. If you hand sell them some, they’ll come back next week and say, ‘That wine was amazing,’ but if you don’t, they’ll look for Burgundy, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, Portugal and so on. South Africa just doesn’t quite make it.” But as a tireless promoter of the many excellent South African wines, Andre believes that the future is looking bright.

Read the full interview with many entertaining stories of life in the wine importing business on Grape Collective.

  The beautiful landscape of the South African winelands with its magnificent mountain ranges.

The beautiful landscape of the South African winelands with its magnificent mountain ranges.

Winemaker Interview: Rupert Symington Of Symington Family Estates On Port Wine


Portugal's Duoro Valley, famous for its Port wine, is a unique mountainside region with spectacular terraced vineyards carved into steep hillsides. The Symington Family, a renowned Port and red table wine producer with brands such as Dow's, Cockburn's, Graham's, and Warre's, can trace its history back 14 generations. Over the years, the company has acquired many of the finest quintas (estates) in the heart of the Duoro Valley where the combination of climate, soils, and grape varieties produce distinctive wines of great concentration.

Rupert Symington co-owner of Symington Family Estates in Duoro, Portugal, stopped by for a chat during a recent visit to New York City. Laden with some pretty awesome wine, Rupert shared his love of Port and his thoughts on keeping Port relevant in a crowded marketplace. 

To read the full interview, please visit Grape Collective. Thank you!