2021 has shaped up to be another challenging year for everyone, especially in South Africa as you know too well, especially for our South African producers and the hospitality industry. With all events and general interaction with you, our customers, having been suspended, we have used this opportunity to reflect on our business and improve our internal systems, especially from a logistical perspective.
Our co-founder, Venetia Buissinne, has been instrumental on the ground in implementing and actioning significant improvements to our infrastructure and systems. Some of your wine collections have inevitably increased over time, so we decided it was necessary to create a dedicated cellaring space on our premises. Our very own cellars are fuller than ever with great wine as we have recently taken on some exciting new producers. Finally, a business wouldn’t be successful without its people, and we have recruited new staff members to aid us in our growth.
Improved cellaring facilities
The existing cellar which houses our stock has been completely revamped with a focus on a dedicated picking and dispatch area. Additional lighting has been installed and we have upgraded our security systems. The cellar floors have been resurfaced; laid with epoxy coating to facilitate cleaning and the movement of trolleys. With the recent challenges brought on by international shipping delays, we made the business decision to bring in wines in larger volumes so that local market demands are met for longer periods of time. This meant that we had to dedicate part of our cellar to bulk stock holding. All of these improvements were importantly executed in time for our annual Burgundy campaign, which is always a demanding time from a logistical point of view.
We have implemented a system called TrackPOD which ensures effective route planning and management of all our local deliveries in Gauteng. An integration model has been written which allows our delivery tasks to transfer straight from SAP Business by Design to TrackPOD as soon as the instruction is created on SAP. The deliveries are then allocated and managed effectively and efficiently, per driver team and in a paperless/contactless manner. This has become important in the COVID environment we are working in. We are about to embark on the next integration project where SAP Business by Design will talk directly to the third-party courier module which allows for better quality control over the delivery service.
We have increased our delivery fleet to include a bakkie – again fitted with temperature control – for the smaller local deliveries.
You may have noticed that the boxes we use to pack your wines in have undergone a makeover. We updated the design and branding and now have boxes for flat six- and twelve-bottle packaging, together with a three-bottle box for magnums. The flat-pack boxes were specifically designed to accommodate all packing combinations with regards to bottle sizes and being flat packed, it ensures that labels of the larger/fatter bottles are protected.
For the past few years, we have been cellaring wines for our best customers as an additional service. With our growing customer base and the fact that many of the wines require further maturation, we made the decision to formalize a cellaring service with a dedicated space for private customer’s wines. After months of planning, this cellar is now ready to welcome new private collections. Speak to us now if you are interested in this new service.
With all the newly improved systems in place, we needed additional staff to drive the implementations. On the delivery side, Watson (pictured left) has been made a permanent member of Great Domaines. Neo joined the team in December last year to assist with packing processes. Bruno (pictured middle) joins the sales team as an Account Manager to look after our on-premise customers. In a constantly evolving e-commerce environment, we needed to add new digital marketing skills, and Lynnette (pictured right) is now fulfilling this role.
At Great Domaines, we are very proud of our portfolio – it is a privilege for us to represent some of the best wines in the world here in South Africa. Every now and again, an opportunity comes along for us to consider taking on new producers and these are opportunities to be grasped with both hands. Our philosophy remains to only work directly with the estate, thereby guaranteeing perfect provenance to our customers. This also enables us to build a special bond with each estate and ensure we have everything in place to maintain the best possible levels of brand representation.
From Germany we now represent Weingut Keller, an esteemed German wine producer located in the Rheinhessen in the municipality of Flörsheim-Dalsheim. From France, Bordeaux we have added a number of unique and very special producers: Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf from Saint-Emilion, Château Séraphine in Pomerol and Clos Cantenac in Saint-Emilion, both owned by Martin Krajewski.
In South Africa, after years of persistence we welcome Alheit Vineyards, one of the top white wine producers in our country.