Cape Classics is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the company’s founding in 1992 as a fledgling import business to introduce South African wines to the American wine market. Today, that vision has grown into an international organization with offices in New York City and Somerset West, representing 33 wineries and estates from both France and South Africa, including the company’s own brands, Jam Jar, Braai and Indaba.
In addition, the company runs the Indaba Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, established three years ago by South African Andre Shearer, the co-founder of Cape Classics, and his team. The IEF strives to bring positive change by supporting early childhood education through the training and certification of teachers in the Montessori Method at the Indaba Montessori Institute (IMI). The aim is to provide wineland children with a much better chance of using their education to escape the poverty trap and realize their life’s dreams.
“25 years ago we created a company from scratch that has positively impacted the lives of so many and achieved as much, if not more, than companies 10 times our size,” said Shearer, CEO of Cape Classics. “In various ways, we continue our work to change the historical inequities of South Africa by diligently focusing on improvement in the wineland communities in which we work. I’m incredibly proud that we have stayed true to our founding ideals of professionalism and ethics, and have worked very, very hard, year after year to always improve our service at all levels.”
Cape Classics began with just a handful brands, of which three – Buitenverwachting, Excelsior Estate and Kanonkop – are still in the portfolio today. With the mission to bring the best of South African wine to the US, Shearer has partnered with some of the country’s finest including De Toren, nominated for New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, and DeMorgenzon, which recently got a Top 100 Wine nod from Wine Enthusiast for their Maestro White Blend.
Cape Classics is also making waves with their rapid, yet purposeful, growth in France. Since just 2012, the importer has partnered with 14 domaines and estates, including Domaine Vincent Carême in the Loire, Domaine Philippe Colin in Burgundy, avant-garde viticulturist/micro-negociant Philippe Pacalet.
“We are entering the ‘2nd Chapter’ of our business, with a much larger and different platform,” concluded Shearer. “Our next phase will be to capitalize on what we have been steadily building the last 25 years, and to grow dramatically. Our goal is to become a truly relevant and significant player in the French import business, and we expect that growth will further develop the South African side. That expansion will in turn support our work with the IEF, and the impact that will have on children and communities will broaden, as our reach blossoms. It’s truly an exciting time for our company!”
Cape Classics was recently nominated for Importer of the Year as part of Wine Enthusiast’s 2017 Wine Star Awards. For more information about Cape Classics, visit www.capeclassics.com.