South Africa’s gain is Washington’s loss

Sean Coetzee came to Washington a couple of years back from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he had been at university on a tennis scholarship and had also found time to launch a business, African Woodsmoke, importing high-end African crafts. The market in Lincoln was saturated pretty quickly, so Sean headed to Washington. We’d met on Twitter and I took him to lunch at the National Press Club soon after he hit town.

[EXPAND Expand]Hit town is the right phrase. He’d hardly been here a week before he was throwing a party for a lot of very beautiful people on the roof of the Newseum to show off Woodsmoke’s wares along with some first rate Diemersfontein pinotage. It didn’t take long for him to come to the attention of Andre Shearer, founder and CEO of Cape Classics, the largest importer of South African wine into the US market. Andre snapped him up to help grow the South African category in the greater Washington area, which was still pretty much virgin territory.

If Kanonkop and De Toren Z and their ilk are now on the wine lists of Washington best restaurants, it’s down to Sean. He has done a terrific for Cape Classics and for South Africa. Now home beckons. We’ll miss him. South African should welcome him with open arms.[/EXPAND]


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