2018: A year in reflection at wine.co.za

Thursday, 6 December, 2018
Judy Brower - wine.co.za
It is really important for us to take time to reflect and be grateful for the life we have

The drought has had a major effect on the wine industry in the last year, and we have heard plenty of stories of wineries really struggling to make ends meet, so we are eternally grateful that during really tough times we are still in business.  This is our 22nd year in business and the one thing that is constant is change.  We focus on offering a professional, reliable and affordable service and continue to build and maintain good relationships in the industry.

On reflection of 2018, it has been a very busy and super fast year and we are proud of our achievements:


Did you know that you can browse to wine.co.za and then just ADD TO HOMESCREEN and then we make it even easier than you thought - No App Required.

I don't think anyone likes deadlines and our tech team are no different, but we managed to get wine.co.za scaleable onto any device this year - no mean feat!  This also meant a total redevelopment of our entire back end and our resident programmer, Kevin Kidson reckons he is now the oldest and most experienced programmer in the country!  Hats off to him and Garth Hapgood-Strickland who pulled of all the geeky and visually appealing stuff.

wine.co.za consists of thousands of pages of South African Wine info gathered over the 22 years since 1996. We are like an iceberg, and often what people see is just the tip. There is tons of useful content under the ocean and an occasional deep sea dive will reveal it all. 

So getting wine.co.za totally scaleable across all devices and browsers was a massive challenge - and we are very proud to say that we really do think we are the EASIEST WAY to find info about South African Wine, BUY South African Wine, and SELL South African Wine, from the comfort of your desktop, or browsing while on your phone.


We have been monitoring our readership carefully and during Sept we saw a massive increase in our readership before and after Cape Wine 2018.  This really affirms our assertion that those who are interested in wine will find up to date content on wine.co.za. Our monthly page views leaped from an average of 1.2million to 1.7million just for September! 

22% increase in pages per session for mobile devices, year on year comparing 2018 against 2017

Our Social Media is flying, with a 25% year on year growth and we are pleased also to see the level of engagement, on average higher than industry standards..


We completed a number of new websites this year - Meerlust, Villiera, Seven Sisterswith a few more in the pipeline.

- www.visitwinelands.co.za

We pride ourselves in making it really easy for clients to publish their content on wine.co.za and then we also find ways to distribute this content - and have been feeding the Stellenbosch Wine Route website for years.  We also host and manage the Chenin and Cap Classique websites - thus our content is dynamically fed into these websites.  23 Wineries have their websites developed and hosted by wine.co.za - thus making it really easy for them to keep their online presence active. An email to our Content team is all it takes - and within 24 hours - wine.co.za and these websites are all updated... nothing could be simpler. 

This year, with Marisah Nieuwoudt taking on the Wine Tourism mantle, we have extended our distribution network - by supplying all the EVENTS in our DIARY into the official Wine Tourism Website- www.visitwinelands.co.za 


We have always been top of the pops when searching on Google for South African Wine info - and we have spent considerable effort tweaking this again to ensure we are up there where it matters

TEAMSA making into the Top 10 of the World Blind Wine Tasting Champs in France

wine.co.za has been a supporter & media partner of the South African Wine Tasting Championship since inception - and very proud of TeamSA #TeamNederburg who made it into 10th position this year. #TeamZim did us proud too - making 14th position - and we continue to support them where possible.
Keep up with the championship in our Spotlight Page HERE

(Pinotage Youth Development Academy)

We have made a position available annually in our Content Team for a PYDA graduate, by offering a 13-month learnership contract to a successful applicant. This then provides an opportunity for one of their passionate youngsters to gain valuable experience within our team. The position involves customer liaison, content editing and publication, reporting, visiting wineries and events,and gives the incumbent a good all-round experience of the wine industry. 

Yoliswa Masekwana joined us permanently in Dec 2017 and we have just appointed Jamie-Lee Appolis to take up our first learnership.

"My year with wine.co.za has been absolutely amazing, with lots of fun, event and wine tastings. The Idea was to put what I learned at the Academy into practice, and it's been a great experience. The journey continues..." from Yoliswa


We started this initiative in 2016 in response to the Bitter Grapes video.  The aim is to showcase all the good news stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty! 

To date we have already published over 120 stories in our NEWS  - and again all this info (News, Videos, Photos) are all available for any media or website (eg Wesgro, South African Tourism, Embassies etc) to use this content dynamically - making it really easy to ensure that the world is informed about the good news stories of the industry.  

We are making APRIL - Freedom Month - our #wineforgood month - and encourage all the good news stories to be sent to us so that we can publish a story every day during the month of April. - email editor@wine.co.za your stories.  They will be published in our NEWS and also in our www.wineforgood.co.za website & Spotlight Page.

TASTESUNSHINE | 24 Sept | Heritage Day

Tasting South African wine is like tasting sunshine in a glass, and so we launched this initiative in 2017. We continue to encourage all South Africans to show off their great hospitality skills and warmth and invite foreigners around, share some of our excellent wines - and let other taste the sunshine that we often take for granted.

So on Braai Day | Heritage Day - hundreds of people all over the world shared some great South African Wine and joined the #tastesunshine initiative.  See more on our www.tastesunshine.co.za pages and Save the Date for next year - wherever you are in the world


We are in the fortunate position to be invited to many events in and around the winelands, and this year we attended 166 events! 
We generated hundreds of Photo Albums and a number of articles and recently launched our new OUT&ABOUT with wine.co.za series of news articles to showcase all our pics effectively. 


We send out flyers to our Shop Subscribers weekly and we are very proud of them - our Shop team does a sterling job selecting great wines and putting together beautiful flyers!  With Direct-to-Consumer Wine Clubs all the rage, we are very pleased with the work being done in this field

Our mantra is the Easiest Way to Buy Wine, and in view of this - we have dropped all extra shipping charges - making it really simple and easy for the consumer to purchase wine, anywhere in South Africa, without the added hassle of extra shipping.

For Wineries who sell wine through our Online Shop - we launched our Express Shop - which then makes it really easy when doing tastings without stock on hand.  They can just point customers to the URL we provide, let people place their orders, and we handle the logistics - really simple.  See paintedwolf.wine.co.za as an example


We are constantly evaluating our products and services and have decided to phase out our Standard Listings, but wineries still have till the end of 2019 to make the move up to Partner or Gold Partner, which makes it even easier for wineries to keep their brand top of mind, globally. 
For a mere R1 600 per month - wineries have carte blanche to publish ALL their content (WINES, NEWS, TOURISM info and get it distributed across our entire network.  If you need more info - click HERE


We said goodbye to one of our long-standing team members; Content Editor Kudzai Dzemwa, who has gone back to Zimbabwe to join her children. We wish her all the very best for her future.
Without our team - we could not do any of this - so a big thank you to each of them for the all hard work during 2018.

Our wine.co.za team will be taking a break over Xmas. The offices will be closed from midday on Friday 21 Dec and will re-open on Tues 8th Jan 2019.


Thank you to all our customers and clients for their continued support during 2018 and we wish everyone a safe, happy and restful festive season.

Judy Brower

Judy has been running wine.co.za alongside her hubby Kevin Kidson since 1996. She takes photos, attends functions, writes occasionally, sells wine.co.za services, is Mrs HR at the company, cooks yummy lunches from time to time and generally is the glue at wine.co.za

The wine.co.za team at Middelvlei for our Xmas party
The wine.co.za team at Middelvlei for our Xmas party

Yoliswa Masekwana and Jamie-Lee Appolis
Yoliswa Masekwana and Jamie-Lee Appolis

Captain of TeamSA - Anita Streicher Nel
Captain of TeamSA - Anita Streicher Nel

Team Africa at the World Blind Champs
Team Africa at the World Blind Champs

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