Consumer research manager Xania van der Merwe arrives at Vintelligence

Friday, 9 September, 2022
Southern Skies
Southern Skies welcomes Xania van der Merwe as their new consumer research manager.

Southern Skies is pleased to announce the arrival of experienced consumer research manager Xania van der Merwe to manage market intelligence/research activities for the innovative wine marketing and sales group via its subsidiary Vintelligence. Xania replaces former managing partner, Pieter van Niekerk, who has moved on to new opportunities.

“Not only does Xania have a great understanding of the wine industry from a range of perspectives including wine tourism, wine e-commerce and wine marketing, but her background in sales/business development for consumer research makes her a perfect candidate to assist us in growing our client base, product offering, and commissioned research activities,” says Southern Skies group managing director Andrew Douglas.

Xania studied Consumer Science at North West University and completed her Masters degree in 2005 studying the South African retail consumers. Over her career she has held various positions in a consumer research capacity at Synovate and then AC Nielson where she headed up the mystery shopping department and worked with customer experience across Middle East & Africa.

Xania says that she looks forward to the new chapter where she will be able to assist the wine industry with consumer insights:

“My professional journey allowed me first-hand experience with every step in commercial value chain of wine which amplified the importance of consumer centricity. Vintelligence offers wine producers the ability to make more informed decisions by optimising insights into the behaviours of South African wine consumers. I look forward to sharing these insights and welcome all industry role players to reach out.”

Xania is passionate about wine tourism having consulted to and then chairing the Wellington Wine Route. She is also currently enrolled in a PhD through Unisa where she is exploring the topic of “Motivational factors within a consumers wine journey”.

Xania’s immediate focus will be the delivery of the report for the 2022 Great BIG Wine Survey which recently went back into field for the third time in 3 years. The Great BIG Wine Survey launched in 2020 and is proudly supported by Hollard Insurance.

For more information contact Xania at

More about Xania van der Merwe

Xania is passionate about consumer behaviour and has spent the last ten years applying consumer centricity to tourism and wine. Having studied Consumer Science followed by a master’s degree focused on consumer retail shopping behaviour, her next step into academia is furthering her studies into consumer behaviour centred around the wine beverage category.

She has been involved in the full commercial wine value chain, from product development, consumer research (Synovate & Nielsen), retail (Checkers & Woolworths), to distribution and marketing (KURK). She also shares a passion for the development and evolution of the direct-to-customer sales and marketing channel within the South African wine industry.

About Southern Skies Investment Holdings

Southern Skies’ primary objective is “to enable South African Wine Producers to sell wine direct-to-customer (DtC) throughout South Africa and key export markets”. Compared to other wine producing countries SA is still yet to truly capitalise on the DtC opportunity, both locally and abroad. DtC remains by far the most profitable sales channel available to wine producers.

E-commerce technology, marketing and logistics are at the heart of the Southern Skies core capability having acquired and founded a number of complimentary businesses to support its DtC objectives including, Cellar Direct, The Wine ShowCyber CellarOorskotwyn, and Vintelligence.

Visit for more information.

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Xania van der Merwe
Xania van der Merwe

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