Is selling wine in the US any different to selling wine in SA?
Not many people in the US know who Tin Tin is, but the principles remain the same - building relationships for the long term and working with people you like. These people must understand your wines/story/philosophy and be able to relate to these, in your absence, to the consumers. And, of course, you want good wine ratings.
Do blends work in the US?
Our two premium wines under the AA Badenhorst range are both blends - a red and a white - and the response to these was fantastic. At the price they are selling in the US, they will probably move mainly through the restaurant trade, and blends give sommeliers a lot more to say to entice their customers. Blends allow sommeliers and restaurant owners to see another side of South African wines and realise it's not only the wines from Europe that show the nuances of terroir.
Why did you decide to DIY and not sign up with a distributor, such as Cape Classics?
We have signed up with Broadbent Selections and a South African company, Knauth and Visser, which, like us, is a small company. But we share the same vision for our wines.
What do Americans make of SA wines?
There is a tremendous amount of interest in the wines coming out of SA. The enthusiasm is contagious and all of the people I met, from big specialist wine stores to the tiniest of restaurants, want to know more about South Africa and its wines. My feeling is that South Africa is ideally poised to make a bigger impact in this market than any of the other so-called new-world producers.
Did the 2010 Fifa World Cup raise American awareness of SA wines?
Without a doubt. With so many of the World Cup participants being wine-producing countries, most of the wine outlets ran concurrent tastings during the particular countries' games.