Stephanus Eksteen bidding at the Nederburg Auction
Cape Legends Newsletter - July 2012
05 July 2012 by Cape Legends
Stephanus Eksteen, one of the country’s most experienced wine buyers, is a man with a mission: to expose South African consumers to value-for-money wines not only from South Africa but from around the world so they can appreciate anew what is available to them locally in terms of quality and value.
“We want to stimulate consumers to experiment and broaden their enjoyment of wine by trying different ones instead of always sticking to the handful they know,” he says.
Stephanus has been the chief wine buyer of Shoprite-Checkers for more than a decade, deciding not only what will be available on the supermarket shelves of the two chains, but also in the Shoprite Group’s Liquor Shop outlets of which there are now more than 160.
Wine was not new to him when he joined the Shoprite Group almost 30 years ago. He grew up on a farm outside Piketberg at the foot of the mountains where his father also grew wine grapes. He studied B Com at Stellenbosch University in the late ‘seventies and a few years later, did his MBA, devoting his thesis to wine marketing, never realising at the time how valuable that knowledge would be for his later career.
Since his appointment as chief wine buyer of Shoprite-Checkers, there have been many major innovations of the wine departments. One of these has been the creation of in-store “wine routes” giving customers access to wines of more than 40 estates.
Stephanus is utterly immersed in what he does. Talk to him and one of the first things he tells you, is how he has been enriched by the relationships built up over the years with people in the industry.
His is a very straightforward philosophy: "I’ll give you space on the shelf for your wine, but first tell me what you are going to do to move it off it. And this is where the good marketers and I meet one another and work together to our mutual benefit.”
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