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.