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Introducing some new team members

We are growing and adding some incredible new team members to the Under the Influence Africa family. Here are two new appointees to our leadership team. Welcome Suné and Gavin!

Brand Development Manager

We are delighted to have created a new position in the company, overseeing our brand partner relationships, and driving their brand strategy and outcomes into our various markets and channels across Africa. Suné van der Merwe has been in the wine industry for the last 22 years. Both in London where she ran the Wines of South Africa London office for three years and back in South Africa working for two of the largest FMCH companies, British American Tobacco, Retail Relationship where she and her team launched a first of its kind Rewards program for the Independent Retail Environment.

She then joined Distell as the Head of Wines, Southern Africa. In 2019 she worked very closely with Christie’s Auction House and auctioneer Charlie Foley to put together the first South African Super lots for the Christie’s London 2 day Fine & Rare Auction in November.

In May 2021 the Cape Fine & Rare Wine auction was held in South Africa at the renowned Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. She worked closely with the UK press. Successful online tastings and webinars with the 67 Pall Mall member base and an interactive auction discussion and tasting with Tim Atkin MW. The BIG highlight of the auction was the Unicorn wine, Grand Constance 1821 which sold for R420 000 to a UK wine buyer, this gave the auction international coverage and cemented the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction as an International Wine event.

Business Development Zambia

We were lucky enough to meet Gavin via one of our team members, and we couldn't be more happy for him to join our Zambia team. He has extensive experience in the FMCG space working for Coca-Cola and a number of other beverage brands, before starting and selling a successful restaurant in Stellenbosch. A bit more about this dynamic gent, in his own words:

"My name is Gavin Swart, 34-year-old father & husband with a love for the culinary arts and the finer aspects of life, particularly wine. Hailing from a small town in Gauteng and later moving to the Winelands, where my love affair with wine began, cultivated by my surroundings and nurtured by my curiosity. My journey into the world of food started as a hobby, experimenting with flavours and techniques in my home kitchen.

With time, my culinary pursuits evolved into a true passion. I found joy in the process of creating exquisite dishes in our family-owned restaurant in Stellenbosch. I enjoy cooking, whether it's a hearty stew simmering on the stove or an elegant five-course meal for friends and family.

As a father of one energetic boy, I cherish the opportunity to pass down my love for food and wine to the next generation. I enjoy involving my son in the kitchen, teaching him the basics of cooking while instilling an appreciation for quality & respect for the ingredients, and when he is!

When I'm not busy in the kitchen or spending time with my family, I can often be found exploring vineyards, and seeking out new and exciting wines to add to my collection. I relish the chance to sample different varietals, savoring the unique characteristics of each bottle and expanding my knowledge along the way."


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