Two Cape Town wine-making companies are optimistic that this week's investment and trade initiative (ITI) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will give them an opportunity to expand their footprint to the DRC and neighbouring countries.
Winemakers Aslina and Robinson & Sinclair are part of the 29 business people delegation to the DRC for the 8th ITI scheduled to take place in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi from Monday to Saturday, the Trade and Industry Department (dti) said.
The objective of the ITI was to create market penetration for South African value-added products and services in the DRC and to promote South Africa as a trade and investment destination.
Aslina Wines owner and director Ntsiki Biyela said her target in terms of expanding her brand and wines had always been Africa. She was already exporting to Ghana and said the continent was an ideal market for up-and-coming exporters.
“My aim is to meet with importers, distributors, restaurateurs, as well as hotel and beverage managers who will assist in introducing my wines into the DRC market.
"International markets are more receptive to unknown brands, hence we have grown more overseas,” she said.
Biyela spent a year as a domestic worker before she was awarded a scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at Stellenbosch University in 1999.
She was crowned Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2009 and had been a finalist for two consecutive years for the most influential women in business and government awards, the dti said.
Biyela also sat on the board of directors of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which provided technical training and personal development for young South Africans in the Cape Winelands, preparing them for work in the wine industry.
Robinson & Sinclair Wines North American and African sales manager Cyril Meidinger said the company they would like to expand their footprint to the rest of Africa, as it was a market they had not managed to properly get into so far.
“We would like to meet with importers, distributors, and retailers in the DRC in order to expose them to the quality of our beautiful South African wines and aim to develop our inter-continental relationships.
"Previous participation has exposed us to meet new importers and distributors globally,” he said.
The business delegation would participate in the exhibition, business seminars, and a series of business-to-business meetings, the dti said.