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Topical pic: KWV’s fantastic four

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The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four...
...KWV's Steenkamp, Gradwell, Swanepoel and Haarhoff. Any similarities are purely coincidental.
...and KWV's Steenkamp, Gradwell, Swanepoel and Haarhoff. Any similarities are purely coincidental.

KWV: from hugely influential parastatal to just another big wine company fighting for market share in both the domestic and international wine and spirit markets. As CEO Thys Loubser succinctly put it during a strategy session yesterday, the KWV used to operate essentially as “the remover of excess grapes from the industry” but now wants “brands to form the core of its new business model”.

It was an oppportunity for media  commentators to interact with KWV’s newly appointed brand directors: Jeff Gradewell previously of Cabrière in Franschhoek, now in charge of top of the range brands The Mentors, Cathedral Cellar and Laborie; De Bruyn Steenkamp, previously Distell’s wine business manager in Europe, now in charge of Golden Kaan, Roodeberg and the so-called Lifestyle range; Werner Swanepoel, most recently Distell’s group marketing manager for Amarula and now in charge of KWV’s own cream-based liqueur Wild Africa as well as brandy; and Gareth Haarhoff, previously of Coca-Cola now in charge of Café Culture, Pearly Bay and other large volume, lower-price brands. Perhaps not quite Mister Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch and the Invisible Girl but with equally big challenges to face.

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