The history and the beginning

About Great Domaines

Great Domaines was established in 2000, when it started importing fine wine from a handful of top domaines in Burgundy, France. Right from the start, our focus has been on importing domaines that are at the very top of the qualitative scale in their respective regions.

The first wine officially imported by Great Domaines was the 1999 vintage from Burgundy domaine, Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier. In the beginning 6 domaines were imported regularly and now the Burgundy portfolio has grown to 37 domaines. Today our portfolio stretches across 116 producers, including the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Vega-Sicilia, Sassicaia, Soldera, Egon Müller, Champagne Salon, Jean-Louis Chave, Giuseppe Quintarelli, Clos Rougeard, Solaia and Château Petrus. In recent years, Great Domaines has added to their portfolio by representing a niche selection of the very best names that South Africa has to offer.

The backbone to our success lies in the direct and personal relationships we have with each one of our producers and domaines. This bond allows us the privilege of importing wines that you would struggle to find elsewhere in the fine wine market, especially Burgundy. We value these relationships very highly and make at least one trip each year to visit our producers and maintain these relationships, as well as keep up to date with the goings-on in the vineyard.

Since the very beginning, Great Domaines’ goal has been to focus on giving wine-lovers in South Africa the opportunity to buy and drink fine wine from some of the most revered domaines in Europe. We hope to provide a window into what makes these people and their wines so special.

We take the provenance of our wines very seriously. We ensure that a strict cold chain is maintained from the producer to our cellars in Johannesburg. We monitor the entire journey using eProvenance technology, which measures transport temperatures for the duration of the journey. Once received, all wine is kept at 10° C in our temperature- and humidity-controlled cellars – equipped with standby generators in case of power failure.

Members who make us great

Our team

These are the faces behind Great Domaines. Our people are the foundation of our success and the key to our future. We believe that work is more than a place you go every day. It should be a place of exploration, creativity and professional growth.

Venetia Buissinne

Financial Manager

Venetia Buissinne

Born and raised in Springs and the last of six children – the days where big families where an option. Family is important to her and she will proudly tell you her Mom has the honour of being a Great Great Grandmother.

The first ten years of her working career was with De Beers. With the incredible training and mentorship provided she developed a good overall knowledge for many of the administrative areas in business with the bulk of the time being in IT. Her last project at De Beers, in the days of the telex and fax machine was attending Email Systems training on the Ilse of Man and bringing those teachings back to the De Beers Management team.

After leaving De Beers she joined Wayne in the financial services company to manage the company operationally and financially. She became a member of the close corporation soon after Great Domaines was registered and implemented the administration and financial systems – with the invoicing program progressing from Excel in the early days of five domaines to now the necessity of SAP as the ERP. A happy team and happy customers are important to her as well as the understanding that we do not operate in a silo but are very much a part of the community in which we work and that it is important to do what we can, not only as a company but also as individuals to uplift and support that community.

She is not a learned “wino” and enjoys more the art of drinking and sharing wine with family and friends rather than analysing and tasting it. The friendships developed with winemakers, their families and customers leave her believing that good people make wine and that the same can be said for those who drink it. It can’t be explained except to perhaps link wine directly to the more natural, nurturing and real way of life.

Contact Venetia: venetia@greatdomaines.co.za

Wayne Visser

Founding Member

Wayne Visser

Great Domaines was started by Wayne Visser and was born out of his pure passion to share great wine and great food.

After studying law and completing his two-year stint at the army Wayne skipped between working at the various Longhorn steakhouses in Johannesburg between 1984 and 1987.

His food and wine interest continued to develop when taking up a position at the internationally styled restaurant, Gatrilles & Son. After leaving in 1988 he began to focus on what he currently does full time, which is run a financial services company.

Wayne began buying wine for his personal cellar from various fine wine merchants in London in the early 1990s, and the passion developed further in the late 1990s when frequent trips to Burgundy were experienced. The purpose of the trips was primarily to seek out and buy/import wines which were elsewhere unavailable.

Derek Kilpin

Co-owner and General Manager

Derek Kilpin

Derek Kilpin first started in the wine industry in 2000 when he worked at various wineries in Stellenbosch whilst completing his BSc degree. Most notably was the period at Waterford wine estate hosting tastings, cellar tours and just before leaving assisting in the winery during harvest. Holiday work at Asara wine estate continued to fuel the growing passion. He then left and went to Dublin in 2003 and after a temporary job at McHugh’s liquor merchants he found a more permanent position working with respected merchant Vaughan Johnsons. When his visa expired, he left Dublin on a four-year stint to cut his teeth in arguably the world’s most sophisticated fine wine market, London.

Most notable was spending a year at Fine and Rare Wines, a fine wine brokerage offering one of the widest selections of fine wine from around the world. Not content with tasting enough of the fine wine he was selling, he found employment with a traditional English merchant, Decorum Vintners. Invaluable experience was gained travelling to Spain, France and Italy to visit and taste at the various estates and their impressive portfolios. Before leaving he completed the advanced level examination from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. 2007 was when Derek returned home after meeting Great Domaines owner, Wayne Visser, who at the time had just secured the distribution of Pol Roger champagne, they naturally partnered together. Since then he has passionately built a business from no employees and a small portfolio to an exciting wine enterprise representing some of the finest wines on the planet whilst being supported and driven by 15 passionate and committed staff members. When he is not drinking, selling or talking about wine he can usually be found on a tennis court, watching his national sports teams or with a fishing rod in hand.

Contact Derek: derek@greatdomaines.co.za 

Paul Rennie

Sales Manager

Paul Rennie

Paul first started in the wine/liquor industry in 1994 when he worked at Rebel Piccardi Liquors as branch manager. Thereafter he moved on to Stellenbosch Farmers Winery (SFW) for a period of 6 years whilst servicing the Durban area. During this period he completed his IMM along with his level 1 and level 2 certificates with the Cape Wine Academy. His career continued with a large wholesaler and redistributor of liquor and wine between 2001 and 2002, also in Durban.

In keeping with the beverage market, Paul then moved up to Johannesburg in 2003 and joined South African Breweries on the soft drink side (ABI) where an additional 8 years of servicing the hospitality trade along with retail and wholesale in the greater Johannesburg South areas. During this time he continued his studies and obtained his MBA degree through Milpark Business School.

Urgently wanting to return to the wine industry, Paul found himself looking after Key Accounts for a Hotel Group, where his knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry were further entrenched.

Early in 2016, he then decided enough was enough and the urge to finally return to the wine industry was realized. Paul has since joined the Great Domaines team as Sales Manager.

Contact Paul: paul@greatdomaines.co.za 

Simon Crawley

Account Manager

Simon Crawley

Simon got bitten by the wine bug while attending the University of Cape Town between 2004 and 2006. A Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and History was paired with the Cape’s finest juice and after further studies in a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management; it was time to get stuck into the professional world of wine.

Fresh out of university, Simon got a job as a trainee Sommelier at Cape Grace Hotel in 2007 and while beginning a series of courses at Cape Academy, he heard of a career opportunity at Wine Cellar in Observatory for a general assistant. It was here where Simon first threw himself into the realm of fine European wines.

The true romantic that he is, Simon followed his heart to São Paulo in 2011 after meeting the woman who was to later become his wife. While in Brazil he helped a friend open a wine importing company and when the opportunity to join Great Domaines presented itself, Simon and his wife decided that they would begin a new chapter in their lives by moving to Johannesburg.

After nearly four years in São Paulo importing wine, Simon is now back in his hometown and has joined the Great Domaines team to work alongside Derek looking after the private clients.

Contact Simon: simon@greatdomaines.co.za

Christine Lundy

Marketing and Public Relations Manager

Christine Lundy

Raised in Paris and Burgundy, Christine established an early love of Pinot Noir and inevitably found herself in the business of marketing French wine. Armed with an honours degree in Communication, she started her career in advertising on the Champs Elyses in Paris. In order to improve her English, she moved to London in 1997 to work for the luxury retailer Hermes, where she met her South African husband. They moved to the Cape at the end of 1999 and Christine went back to advertising and soon found an opportunity to become the market manager for a publishing company. This was followed by a new challenge in launching a new children’s brand with a partner – first manufacturing and then licensing a whole range of exclusive products. With the economic crisis of 2008, the business was no longer viable which brought with it a host of new challenges.

In 2009, a winemaker friend convinced Christine to use her marketing skills and apply her passion for wine to the industry. From a wine marketing consultant, she became a passionate wine writer contributing to a number of leading wine and lifestyle publications. Life then brought her to Johannesburg where the opportunity arose to focus again on wine marketing. Having been brought up on the fine wines of Burgundy, it only made natural sense for Christine to join a company like Great Domaines.

Christine has completed her Cape Wine Academy Level 2 Diploma.

Contact Christine: christine@greatdomaines.co.za

Michelle Diener

Bookkeeper

Michelle Diener

Michelle comes from a strong bookkeeping background and is Great Domaines’ newest addition as the company bookkeeper. Michelle has fulfilled this role with various companies in the past and is excited to do what she loves while learning more about what she loves drinking.

After working at a well-known chicken portioning and distribution plant, Michelle decided that it was time for her to begin a new chapter and challenge herself, while at the same time working with a passionate team, and expanding her knowledge of fine wines from around the world.

In the short time that she has been with Great Domaines Michelle has learnt much and looks forward to a long and successful relationship not only with her team but with our customers and suppliers too.

Contact Michelle: michelle@greatdomaines.co.za

Ishmael Sibindi

Cellar Manager Wizard

Ishmael Sibindi

During his time working at Pick ‘n Pay, Ishmael attended a course in customer service through the company at the professional development branch of The Walt Disney Company, the Disney Institute. He progressed through the ranks during his 23 years of employment at the supermarket giant and went from a position as a cashier to storeroom assistant. He joined Great Domaines at the start of 2015 as a full-time driver and now manages the Great Domaines cellars.

Lynnette Mupepura

Website Administrator

Lynnette Mupepura

Lynnette completed her Diploma in Information Technology at Damelin College in Cape Town and after 3 years of studying, she enrolled for her internship at a digital agency, choosing to remain in Cape Town. During her internship, she was introduced to digital marketing and web development and that was the start of her career.

After spending nearly 10 years in Cape Town, Lynnette decided to move to Johannesburg. Having had the opportunity to work for an online wine distributor earlier on in her career, Lynnette realised how much she was intrigued by wine and she wanted to learn more. It only made sense for Lynnette to join the Great Domaines team and become a student in the wine industry again.

Outside of the office, Lynnette enjoys spending time with her family and binge-watching TV.

Contact Lynnette: lynnette@greatdomaines.co.za

Kay Nortje

Logistics and Cellar Manager

Kay Nortje

Born in Zimbabwe, Kay first started out working at a local bank. Once she turned eighteen, she decided to answer the patriotic call and enlisted in the BSAP (police force). After a number of years of service, Kay decided to move her family to South Africa and established a career first in the private sector and then within the Department of Education and Department of Justice.

All of this experience then lead Kay to the Department of Home Affairs where she worked for twenty-four years until the time came that a new challenge was in order. She has since joined the Great Domaines team in the role of Office Manager and Head of Logistics. Her aim is to expand her knowledge of wine and of the exciting market as a whole.

Outside of the office, Kay enjoys painting, beadwork, reading and needlepoint.

Contact Kay: kay@greatdomaines.co.za

Michelle Naidu

Accounts Clerk

Michelle Naidu

Michelle completed her Bcom (Economics & Management) degree at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She first started working at a Chartered Accountant firm after gaining the necessary experience and was then employed at Standard Bank after which she left Kwa-Zulu Natal and decided to move up to Johannesburg.

Once in Johannesburg, Michelle began her career in the automotive industry for about 9 years, after which she decided it was time for a change and so joined the Great Domaines team.

In her free time, Michelle likes to read, binge watch series and spend time with her family.

Contact Michelle: Michelle.Naidu@greatdomaines.co.za

Duncan van Rensburg

Inventory and Shipping Coordinator

Duncan van Rensburg

Duncan is our Inventory and Shipping Coordinator and works closely with our cellar team.

Duncan grew up in the Eastern Cape and then decided to take on a new challenge so he packed up and moved to Centurion. Duncan started his career in the manufacturing industry as a safety officer and his desire for knowledge and learning lead to him climbing up through the company and becoming the senior cost account and operations manager.

With his desire to grow and challenge himself further, he joined the Great Domaines Team to help broaden his horizons into a different and exciting new industry. Since joining Great Domaines, the infamous wine bug hit and Duncan has discovered and is now developing his love for fine wines.

When Duncan is not at Great Domaines, he enjoys a game of golf or tinkering with his fish tanks.

Contact Duncan: duncan@greatdomaines.co.za

Karin Visser

Account Manager Western Cape

Karin Visser

Karin’s wine curiosity was kept alive by regular visits to wine estates while she studied Human Movement Science at Stellenbosch University. She obtained an honours degree in Biokinetics from the University of Potchefstroom and thereafter worked as a cardiac technician at various London hospitals for 2 years.

On her return to Cape Town she ran her own Biokinetics practice for 7 years. It was during this time, whilst travelling abroad regularly that she discovered her true passion for wine. She took a 6-month break and visited some leading wine regions in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, California and Canada.

After obtaining the Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy she decided to bid her medical profession farewell and with a friend as partner opened a wine and tapas bar, ‘French Toast’, in Cape Town. Invaluable experience was gained and she enjoyed meeting many people in the industry. One of the first wine companies to pay French toast a visit was Great Domaines and a close business relationship developed.

French Toast was sold in 2013 and 2 years later she grabbed the opportunity to join the Great Domaines team. Karin has received her Diploma of Cape Wine Master recently.

Contact Karin: karin@greatdomaines.co.za

Emmanuel Sitelo

Driver

Emmanuel Sitelo

The youngest member of the Great Domaines team, Emmanuel completed school at the top of his computer science class which earned him a very memorable trip overseas to Boston, Massachusetts. This unforgettable trip also involved his participation in a televised segment of the students’ computer class at the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. Emmanuel joined Great Domaines at the end of 2014 as a cellar assistant and a welcomed addition to the delivery team, ensuring all of our precious deliveries are driven carefully to customers. Over the years he has shown his commitment and interest in fine wines by completing both WSET 1 and WSET 2 wine qualifications.

Cindy Eveleigh

Account Manager Western Cape

Cindy Eveleigh

Cindy Eveleigh is our Western Cape-based Account Manager handling both private clients and trade.

Cindy’s passion for wine blossomed while working in fine dining during her studies at Isa Carstens after being exposed to the complex nuances of food and wine pairings and wine menu development.

Like so many of her Great Domaines colleagues, this is where the notorious wine bug bit hard. She immediately threw herself into furthering her qualifications to ensure a role in the Wine Industry and completed a Public Relations course which leads to a job a Zevenwacht.

Cindy has since worked at numerous wine distributors and farms including Meridian Wine Merchant representing Haut Cabriere, National Sales Manager for Asara Wine Estate and Hotel, and then working with a host of other smaller boutique Wine before joining Great Domaines, where her infectious passion for wine has developed into nothing short of a full-blown love affair.

Outside of work, she has a strong interest in art, history, architecture and is blessed with a husband who is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, leaving her to flex her wine pairing skills, Zalto glass in hand.

Contact Cindy: cindy@greatdomaines.co.za 

Clotilda Sitelo

Junior Administrator

Clotilda Sitelo

Clotilda completed her matric at McAuley’s house in November 2016 and immediately started her wine immersion with Great Domaines after completing her exams.

She started working at Great Domaines as an Intern while studying part-time at Boston City college towards a Bcom degree in Marketing Management. Clotilda is currently the Marketing Assistant for Great Domaines.

Contact Clotilda: clotilda@greatdomaines.co.za

Elvis Raudzingana

Assistant Driver

Elvis Raudzingana

Elvis is the latest addition to our delivery team. Originally from Limpopo, Elvis came to Johannesburg after he finished matric. Prior to joining Great Domaines in 2019, Elvis worked for numerous companies as a security officer. His keen interest in wine has led him to join the team as assistant driver. His willingness and impeccable manners are a wonderful addition to Great Domaines team.

Theo Dlamini

Trainee Logistics Assistant

Theo Dlamini

Theo completed high school in 2019 with a focus on Mathematics, Computer Application Technology, Business Studies and Accounting.
He joined the GD cellar team in August the following year as a Temporary Cellar assistant. In November, Theo became a permanent member of the team. Theo enjoys playing volleyball, soccer and basketball. When not partaking in sports, he likes to read and play video games

Watson Ndluvo

Driver

Watson Ndluvo

Born in Zimbabwe, Watson obtained his O-levels in 1986 before heading to Johannesburg in 1989. He started off working as a gardener with some part time work in restaurants, before finding an opportunity with The Star, distributing the newspaper which had his shift starting at midnight. In February 2012, Watson joined the GD and FPM services infrastructure company, Mop & Spade cc, as a driver and assisting GD as and when required. With GD’s growing customer base, the demand for wine deliveries resulted in Watson joining us full time in March 2021. Watson loves fixing things – whether a vehicle engine, or re-purposing a wooden pallet once the wines it carried have been safely put away in our cellar. A true family man, Watson enjoys spending time with his children and his granddaughter – the apple of his eye.