This article by Johan du Preez is part of a series on innovative businesses in Stellenbosch’s Techno Park, which appeared in the Stellenbosch newspaper, Eikestadnuus.

Virtual wine tastings? Yes, it is possible and just one of the many innovative ways that abuzzWINE in Stellenbosch’s Techno Park uses to promote and sell South African wines to 35 countries globally.

The business represents more than 130 South African wine farms and offers more than 1000 wines. Key to their success is the way in which they’ve made it easy to order wine. True to their slogan – Buy wine whenever, wherever – customers utilise an easy-to-use app to place orders from their cellphones or computers. This one of a kind abuzzWINE developed app, takes into account taxes and transportation costs particular to the customer’s country and gives the final price at a glance when a customer places an order.

All wines are sold at cellar door prices. Customers also have the opportunity to order from a list of exclusive brands not elsewhere available in retail.

abuzzWINE welcomes interaction with their customers. “Wine lovers enjoy talking about wine and deserve our personal attention,” says Marlene Badenhorst, abuzzWINE’s managing director. “Not only do we make it easy for them to place an order, but we are accessible and have technology in place to communicate in person with our customers.”

abuzzWINE’s interesting and interactive ways of promoting their wines contribute to the customer’s wine experience. Apart from a wealth of information on abuzzWINE’s website, customers can also take part in exciting online auctions, join their exclusive investors club or become part of a number of wine clubs. Their online wine tastings enable customers worldwide to participate in the comfort of their homes in live and interactive wine tastings that take place at abuzzWINE’s offices in Stellenbosch.  

Their customers include wine tourists, wine collectors, South Africans living abroad and wine lovers worldwide. To reach this market, abuzzWINE steers away from a general marketing approach and have developed a personalised marketing campaign which provides information of value to their customers.

“Customers often say that abuzzWINE stands out when it comes to online wine businesses,” says Badenhorst. “But it is not only about our technology. Add to this our experience, our excellent suppliers and, especially, the personal interaction with our customers and it becomes clear why we are seen as a preferred service provider in our industry,” she adds.

And, looking at abuzzWINE’s outside the box approach, it is easy to expect more pioneering technology and innovative marketing to enthral their customers in future.