Culture Wine Co. Launches to Enhance Representation of South African Wine in the United States

South African wine accounts for less than 1% of all wine imported into the United States. Culture Wine Co.’s goal is to change that.

SAN FRANCISCO, OCTOBER 19, 2023 – Culture Wine Co. launches today as the sole importer, wholesaler, e-commerce retailer and wine club in the United States dedicated exclusively to the wines of South Africa.

The goal? To drastically increase the representation and import-value of South African wine in the United States. Although South African wine currently represents a small amount of US import volume, the bulk of these imports are intended for the creation and exclusive sale of budget-friendly brands. While this scenario has posed challenges in broadening awareness and appreciation for South Africa’s highly skilled producers, Culture Wine Co. aims to have a positive impact in reshaping how these wines are marketed, perceived, and enjoyed in the US.

The mission? To Share Culture Through Wine. Culture Wine Co. believes there is an abundance of untold stories beyond the bottle itself. Our mission is to shed light on the resilience of South African winemakers who overcome extraordinary challenges, such as a complete absence of government subsidies, daily load shedding, and navigating extreme weather events – from flooding to frequent droughts. The world-class quality, thriving community, vibrant culture, and incredible stories of perseverance of its producers is unlike any other region in the world.

Changing of the guard: A new generation of winemakers are at the forefront of exciting and positive changes in the industry. This group is spearheading exciting initiatives, emphasizing the promotion of clean natural wines and the adoption of organic, biodynamic, and regenerative farming methods. They are also reshaping the conversation around and delivering refreshing, lively, and dynamic interpretations of Pinotage, a refreshing departure from the bold, high-alcohol styles of the past. At their fingertips, are more than 10,000 acres of old vine heritage stock- an unintended benefit from the KWV’s long grip on the industry. As a result, what would have traditionally been destined for bulk co-op blends, is now crafted into outstanding single-varietal wines from lesser-known grapes like Fernão Pires, Colombar, and Palomino. But what truly sets this generation apart is their dedication to fostering an open and inclusive wine culture. This is evident as soon as you land in Cape Town and feel its vibrancy and energy. There is so much to be excited about by South Africa, and Culture Wine Co. is here to share their stories.

Culture Wine Co. services: Culture Wine Co. focuses on developing long-lasting partnerships with its producers, imports and wholesales direct-to-trade in California, and retails direct-to-consumer throughout the US via its e-commerce website. This eliminates the need for several entities touching the bottle before it’s consumed, ensures wine is not ‘lost’ in large wholesale portfolios, and ultimately increases visibility of and value to South Africa’s independent producers.

Culture Wine Co. offers consumers a direct connection to the producer with their ‘Culture Wine Club’. For $69 per month, wine lovers receive two bottles, free shipping, and the ability to forge a direct bond with the producer themselves through open, live interviews and conversations. Wine club members receive 10% off all wines in the web store, anytime. The best part? The club is completely flexible. Any time a customer would like to pause a shipment, they can do so. And for those who love to explore, the deal is sweetened with free shipping on any additional à-la-carte bottles that are shipped alongside the monthly wine club selection. For the most loyal customers, Culture Wine Co. will eventually plan safari and wine tours!

Peter Andrews, Founder & President, Culture Wine Co.: “South African wine has steadily increased in quality in the nearly 30 years since the end of Apartheid. Its producers are now readier than ever to shine in their long-overdue time in the international spotlight.” 

Niels Verburg, Owner and Winemaker, Luddite Wines (Bot River): “The quality of South African wine has improved tremendously in the last 30 years- so much that they can no longer be overlooked by serious wine lovers.”

Kiara Scott Farmer, Winemaker Brookdale Estate (Paarl): “Now is the most exciting time to be buying and drinking South African wines. Winemakers and viticulturists around the country now truly understand their respective terroir – the climate, soils, and vines – so the quality is world class. There’s also a great camaraderie between the winemakers and the local wine industry in general. It’s time for US wine lovers to  jump on the train because we’re going somewhere, and this is just the beginning of our latest and most exciting chapter.”

Megan Van der Merwe, Winemaker/Partner, & Beata America, Partner, Processus (Worcester/Constantia): As South African winemakers, we felt we the international market saw us as drifting in a body of water without enough direction, it now seems the tides are changing in our favor. There’s a new generation of winemakers and creatives that are bringing something different to the table. Spaces and labels that feature unusual varieties have drawn young and diverse crowds and it gets us really excited about where the industry is headed.”

Bernhard Bredell, Owner and Winemaker, Scions of Sinai (Stellenbosch)Never before has our industry been so full of dynamic talent and spirit. Whether it’s reviving old vine heritage stock or planting in exciting new pockets of terroir, the industry is pushing boundaries and bringing their wines to incredible new heights. As a result, the wines of South Africa have experienced a steady increase in quality and is producing exciting wines.”

Tim Atkin, Master of Wine: “All in all, 201 wines scored more than 95 points – my equivalent of a gold medal. There is one perfect, 100-point wine this year (the fifth to enjoy such an accolade) and three 99-point wines. The excellent scores support my belief that South Africa is making the best wines in its history…”(Quote from Atkin’s 2023 South Africa Special Report)

Who is behind the company? Culture Wine Co. was founded by 15-year wine industry veteran Peter Andrews DipWSET, MBA. Peter has held executive-level positions in the wine industry and taught wine business courses at Johnson & Wales University, The Culinary Institute of America, and for the WSET. He currently sits on the board of the Glancy Wine Education Foundation.