In September Cape Classics celebrated its 25th Anniversary! To commemorate we will be sharing stories over the course of the next year...

Lars Maack

"Cape Classics is really an extension to our Buitenverwachting team in the U.S. market place. They have an amazing team spirit, awesome sense of humour and a passion and commitment to South African wines. What more do you want in life? Cheers to 25 years of Cape Classics!!"

– Lars Maack, Bayten

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Madeline Triffon

"Cape Classics is in no small part the reason that South African wines are recognized and appreciated in the United States. I’m personally grateful for their commitment to bringing their growers here, so we can connect memorable personalities with equally stylish wines! Now that the portfolio has expanded, “Cape Classics” will simply and always sing “quality” to me, because of the very fine people behind the name, notably Andre Shearer and Molly Choi. They couldn’t be better ambassadors for a company that brings us great wine through their passion and creative intelligence. What a team, Happy Anniversary to everyone at Cape Classics!"

– Madeline Triffon, First Female Master Sommelier

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Debbie Allison

"Reflecting on my trip to South Africa in July 2004 with the Darden Restaurants Team. It’s been 13 years ago and it seems like it was just yesterday.

We tapped on Andres shoulder to help host the trip because of our experience with Indaba Chardonnay at Seasons 52 and the relationship between Cape Classics and George Miliotes. All Andre had to hear was that Darden was interested in coming to South Africa and he became the coordinator of the entire trip and devoted his week to guiding us through the experience.

To this day that trip remains the highlight of all emersion trips I have had in my career. The South African Seafood and Wine Emersion Trip of 2004 ignited a blaze of appreciation for the SA food and wine in me and my team mates. We brought home that appreciation and rekindled the blaze by using the influences we experienced in small ways in our restaurants. (e.g. – Excelsior at Red lobster and later Jam Jar)

The passion for his country that Andre Shearer has is infectious. He was devoted to us learning simply about seafood and wine but also about the spirit of the country of South Africa. We learned of the pride of the people only 13 years post-apartheid, we became aware of the companies that were hanging on to the old ways and why to steer clear, we witnessed first-hand the culture of the townships, we absorbed the history and the burden of shame of Robben Island, we were immersed in the exquisite culture of the wine businesses of Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl & Franschhoek, and even had a visitation with some government officials.

I’ll close with just one memory of so many I have. We spent the day with Andre on Robben Island and learned about how Nelson Mandela survived the brutality and harsh conditions and even rose above it to form the “Robben Island University” to educate them all and where he and others furthered the anti-apartheid movement from behind bars. Towards the end of the trip we visited the limestone quarry where they were forced to work long hours every day. We heard about their triumphant return to the quarry as free men years later. I took a small stone from the quarry that day and it sits on my desk still. The stone has come to represent to me the spirit of tolerance and overcoming obstacles.

The week changed me and I left with a deep love for SA people and culture. I can’t wait to return!!"

– Debbie Allison, Earl Enterprises (previously Darden)

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Patrick and Dawn Werner

"We were first introduced to South African wine at the 2001 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Emil den Dulk was pouring their first vintage of De Toren Fusion V. Shortly thereafter, we became Cape Classics “groupies” going to any tasting or dinner to learn more about South African wines. It was through these events and interactions that we learned that Cape Classics stood for “Excellence”. It describes the wine, the employees and customer service that Cape Classics delivers in one word."

– Patrick Werner, Disney

"For our friends and family the legacy Cape Classics will leave is lasting — it is a love of all things South African…not only the wine, but the food, people, community and culture. If it weren’t for the dedicated Cape Classics team we would have never been introduced to De Toren, our gateway to all the region has to offer. It is an understatement to say we have embraced South Africa and are now avid ambassadors for the country. We’ve made the trek to South Africa twice and now hold dear close relationships with so many talented and passionate people including Andre Shearer, Robert Bradshaw, Molly Choi, Emil Den Dulk, Albie Koch and Bruwer Raats…just to name a few."

– Dawn Werner, Disney

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Doug Doran

"I first met Andre and Cape Classics in the early days of Seasons 52. Back then George Miliotes (Seasons Master Sommelier) would fly to SA to meet with Andre and his team to blend the coming year of Indaba Chardonnay an our partnership with Indaba afforded me the chance to get to know Andre and all at Cape Classics.

At the very first moment we met; Andre exuded all the wonderful qualities that human beings should aspire to: grace, charm caring and most important to me in the business world, a strong set of ethical values. These traits have carried through in each individual Cape Classics has added to its team as they continue to grow and that just makes Cape Classics a pleasure to partner with.

What is truly outstanding about Cape Classics is their desire to make amazing wines that can be affordable; all the while making wine fun. Wine shouldn’t be intimidating, doesn’t have to be expensive and shouldn’t be taken too seriously; my good friends Andre and Robert get that and bring that to every experience one may have with them. Wine, good laughs and good business.

What makes me respect Cape Classics above all other wines folks I know, is their sense of community and how that plays out to help make a better world. Their commitment to early childhood education through the largess of their Indaba Foundation show me that they are all in business; but the business of helping to make the world a better place to live. To me Cape Classics isn’t a vendor; its a family and I am lucky to feel a part of it."

– Doug Doran

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