Conversations with Wine makers

South Africa Summer 2014 Blog

Written by: Emele S Uka

June 27, 2014

Going along with our theme of customer developement the founders called multiple leads to better understand their problem space. Below is an excerpt from Dean Hirst.



Conversations with Wine makers

I decided to work in the field of viticulture, and find out if there are any gaps to fill with technology in the production process of wine making. As it turns out, there are plenty.


I called the front desk and asked to speak to the cellarmaster, Stephan, who was more than happy to chat to me about the applications of technology in viticulture. After a broad question about the most labour intensive exercise in the wine-making process, Stephan really opened up, I felt that it was appropriate to ask him as much as I wanted to, with no need to awkwardly cut the call short, or skip any questions I had planned.


The first main question I asked Stephan was “what strengths do you have has a brand/product that you can work on to achieve greater success? ” His answer detailed the need for large amounts of capital if you wish to produce large volumes of wine, and that having an existing brand, and facilities, enables a wine farm to outperform new comers to the Champagne and wine market.


The question that gained me the most insight was “what simple tasks do you have to do on a regular basis to succeed as a brand, and a business, that could be done by technology”


At this point Stephan began to speak about things I hadn’t heard of before, which was a good sign. He spoke about gyro-pallets and labelling, and that the two could become one synced process. WHich really peaked my interests. I have no idea what is involved in either one of those processes, but I intend to focus my research in that area, and re-assess my call and email scripts, to focus more on this area.


Great day.