As part of our international expansion plans, we are thrilled to welcome Mike Ratcliffe, founder of Wine Business Advisors, into the role of Market Development Advisor, South Africa. Nominated for the Wine Star Award Global Innovator of the Year in 2015 & 2017, Mike is highly accomplished in the South African wine industry. His primary objective is to help us gain a comprehensive understanding of the market and investigate appetite for our cleantech wine packaging solutions for both bottled exports and local consumption opportunities.
Mike held the position of Managing Director of 1.4 million bottle Warwick Estate for two decades and co-founded Vilafonté, the only winery in the world to be twice nominated for the Wine Star New World Winery of the Year. A Stellenbosch University alumni, Mike is Chairman of the Stellenbosch Wine Route and founding Chairman of Visit Stellenbosch, the official tourism marketing body of Stellenbosch. In 2016, he founded Wine Business Advisors, a professional wine, hospitality, and tourism industry focused advisory.
The world’s 7th largest wine producer by volume, South Africa has a big focus on sustainable winegrowing, exemplified through initiatives like Sustainable Wine South Africa and Confronting Climate Change. This includes activities such as creating a carbon calculator for the country’s wine supply chain and encouraging biodiversity in the region where most wine is grown, the Cape Floral Kingdom. Packaged wine accounts for 45% of total wine exports from South Africa, the equivalent of 182m bottles annually, which travel vast distances to their largest volume consumption markets of the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden.
Santiago, CEO & co-founder of Garçon Wines, commented: “It is encouraging that South Africa has been taking sustainability seriously for decades. Having introduced guidelines on sustainability in wine as early as 1998, 95% of growers and cellars adhere to these sustainable winegrowing guidelines. As wines from South Africa are enjoyed world over, primarily in Northern Europe and North America, it is responsible and vitally necessary to take these commitments further by addressing wine’s carbon footprint hotspot, its bottles, packaging, and transport. We’re confident that the market would benefit from more climate-friendly packaging and are motivated by the market development explorations led by Mike and his team at Wine Business Advisors. With expansive experience across the wine value chain, Mike is ideally placed to advise us on the likely introduction of our innovative, sustainable business to the rainbow nation.”