Cape Classics has announced the beginning of a yearlong celebration of the 25th anniversary of the importing company’s founding.
In 1992, South African Andre Shearer moved to New York and co-founded a fledgling import business to introduce the wines of his home country to the American wine market.
Today, that vision has grown into an international organization with offices in New York City and Somerset West, South Africa, representing 33 wineries and estates from both France and South Africa, including their own brands, Jam Jar, Braai and Indaba.
Once known exclusively for their South African wines, Cape Classics is increasingly moving into France.
Since 2012, the importer has partnered with 14 domaines and estates, including Domaine Vincent Carême in the Loire, Domaine Philippe Colin in Burgundy, Philippe Pacalet, and the most recent additions, Vins Auvigue of Burgundy (acquired from Treasury Wine Estates) and Petite Sirène (formerly with Monsieur Touton), produced by the Bordeaux estate Château Giscours.
At the same time the company was pursuing expansion into France, it was also turning its attention to the struggles in South Africa.
From the start, Shearer has prioritized philanthropy and giving back — especially to the community in which Cape Classics operates — as a core business principle of the company, and recognized a current need for quality early childhood education.
As the head of The Indaba Education Fund (IEF), a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2015, Shearer strives to bring change to the youngest residents of the Cape Winelands. The IEF supports early childhood education through the training and certification of teachers in the Montessori Method at the Indaba Montessori Institute.
“25 years ago we created a company from scratch that has positively impacted the lives of so many and achieved as much, if not more, than companies 10 times our size,” says Shearer. “In various ways, we continue our work to change the historical inequities of South Africa by diligently focusing on improvement in the wineland communities in which we work.”