Southern Skies acquires SA “wine online” pioneer

Friday, 29 October, 2021 is pleased to announce its acquisition by Southern Skies Investment Holdings – a Cape Winelands based investment company run by Australian entrepreneur Andrew Douglas.

Judy Brower and Kevin Kidson, the founders of, are thrilled to announce the sale to the ‘trusted and highly experienced’ team at Southern Skies. 

“We are excited at the proven ability to both dream and deliver big that Andrew and his team bring to” said Judy. 

“We are so inspired by the expanded vision and energy that Andrew and his team are adding to our beloved family and our dedicated team, that we have agreed to stay on for a few years yet to ensure that Southern Skies’ transformation plans succeed fully” said Kevin. 

Kevin goes on to say “Even more important than the economic ‘fit’ of this acquisition is the alignment of core values behind the respective teams - transformation, impact, integrity and a care for the workers and the owners of the South African wine industry alike.”

“We recently celebrated’s 25th birthday so the timing feels perfect to hand over the reins to the next generation to write the next chapter.  We will still be working on for a number of years to come but it means we can now start focusing our energy on some of our passion projects within the industry’’, added Judy.

Group Managing Director of Southern Skies, Andrew Douglas says “This acquisition provides a strategic platform to consolidate our existing wine marketing, sales and research interests and a launch pad for global initiatives and partnerships that our team have been working on over 2020-2021. We feel honoured to “receive the torch” and be given the responsibility of building on Kevin and Judy’s hard won 25 year legacy of unwavering support and sterling service to the SA wine industry”.

Andrew goes on to say “Aside from the delivery of engaging digital content designed to sell more wine and convert more to category, we are committed to enabling SA Wine Producers to build their brands, own consumer relationships and help them sell more wine Direct-To-Customer (DTC) online. A robust DTC retail channel is critical to sustained success and much needed increases in profitability for wine producers both locally and abroad.”

Judy, Kevin and Andrew at Vergelegen wine estate

The acquisition was facilitated by social entrepreneur, philanthropist, impact investor and well-known ‘gang pastor’ Andie Steele-Smith, acting as corporate advisor to Southern Skies. Andie, also an Australian, recently led the acquisition of Doolhof Wine Estate on behalf of London based, RAB Capital.

Andie says “it has been a pleasure to work alongside Andrew, Judy and Kevin and their respective teams in finalizing this acquisition. Together we look forward to investing further into the future social and economic development of the South African wine industry and to seeing social and economic transformation for workers, owners and strategic partners of the industry alike”. 

Andrew finishes by saying “this acquisition forms a key part of Southern Skies’ strategic plan and forms a cornerstone to a number of other acquisitions and strategic partnerships that we look forward to announcing in due course.”

For media enquiries please contact Judy Brower via email at

About (WineNet Pty Ltd) is the only global online sales, media & marketing services company dedicated to growing the South African wine industry. Founded in 1996 by Kevin Kidson & Judy Brower, is the ‘go-to’ site for “all things wine” in South Africa and globally. It is the largest, most accurate and trusted online source of South African wine information in the world, consisting of three core business units - Directory, Shop and Cellar Direct.

It is the daily news service the industry reads, the directory that everyone searches, the diary of events that attracts consumers and the classified adverts that attracts and matches the best talent.’s online shop, hosts more SA produced wine product lines than any other online wine sales site globally.

Cellar Direct is a “done-for-you” wine-centric Direct-To-Customer (DTC) e-commerce store front that is utilised by more South African wine producers than any other.

About Southern Skies Investment Holdings Pty Ltd

For the last 10 years, Southern Skies has been one of South Africa’s largest and most visible promoters of lifestyle event content owning/producing the TOPS at SPAR Bierfest, Discovery Tough Mudder and TOPS at SPAR Wine Show.  

Since acquiring the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show ( in 2014 the event has quickly grown to become the largest consumer “try and buy” wine event in South Africa touring to 7 cities connecting over 200 wine producers to 30,000 wine enthusiasts each year. COVID has grounded the event but the team look forward to getting the show “back on the road” in 2022.

In 2020 Southern Skies diversified into wine consumer research (Great BIG Wine Survey) and wine education (delivering online wine courses to 7,000 pax).  Southern Skies is now 100% focused on delivering high impact sales, marketing and business intelligence solutions to the SA wine industry focusing on 5 key pillars including E-commerce, Content, Research, Loyalty/Rewards and Export.

About Andrew Douglas

Andrew has lived in South Africa for the past 17 years. Married to wife Honey he lives with his young family in Somerset West in the Cape Winelands.

After running his own successful event production company in London from 2000 to 2002, Andrew returned home to Australia to oversee the production of the Croc Festival, a 3-day cultural festival promoting positive lifestyle messages to indigenous learners in remote communities of Australia. Croc Festival is a sister event to the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge – a large scale performing arts competition for government-funded high schools that was active between 1980 and 2012.

At the invitation of the WHO and UNAIDS, Andrew and partners established the Be Your Best Foundation and launched Rock Challenge in South Africa in 2004.  Douglas secured significant financial support from Title Partner (formerly ARA) providing a 5-year runway for the production of the event. 

Andrew left the not-for-profit sector to lead 2010 FIFA World Cup activities for iconic mixed use developments - the V&A Waterfront (Cape Town) and Melrose Arch (Johannesburg). He was the Australian Honorary Consul from 2009 to 2011.

After establishing Southern Skies in 2011 Andrew went on to found TOPS at SPAR Bierfest and in 2014 acquired The Wine Show (TOPS at SPAR Wine Show).

Andrew is now 100% focused on delivering high impact marketing and sales solutions to the South African wine industry with a focus on “wine online”.

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Left - Right, Andie Steele-Smith, Judy Brower, Kevin Kidson, Andrew Douglas pictured at Vergelegen
Left - Right, Andie Steele-Smith, Judy Brower, Kevin Kidson, Andrew Douglas pictured at Vergelegen

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