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New general manager for Thandi Wine

Thandi, the first Fairtrade wine label in the world, has appointed a new general manager, Vernon Henn, to take the brand from strength to strength and to continue making great strides in terms of empowering previously disadvantaged people.

Henn, who takes over this role from Thandi's previous brand manager Rydal Jeftha, is currently also the director for human resources at the company of wine peopleTM and forms part of the company’s executive committee. For the ensuing few months, Henn will be juggling the two equally demanding roles and thereafter give his undivided attention to Thandi.

Although Henn has been working in the dynamic wine industry for five years and is completing the Wine Business Management programme through the University of Cape Town.

Established in Elgin in 1995, Thandi – a Xhosa word meaning 'nurturing love' – has become synonymous with quality wine, ethical trading and empowerment. This social transformation model involves the community at all levels of the winemaking process, from working in the vineyards to producing the award-winning wines.

The company of wine peopleTM has a 33% share in Thandi, but ultimately aims for it to become a independent brand with its own cellar and facilities. “It has to be a stand-alone business entity to create even more credibility for the brand,” said Henn. “the company of wine people assisted enormously to make Thandi a viable business model, and is 100% dedicated and committed to the brand,” he said.

Thandi's success is based on the fact that it creates wealth and prosperity for its shareholders, and uplifts previously disadvantaged people. “Although we are able to empower people through the wine sales, Thandi is firstly about quality. We want consumers to repeatedly purchase our product. It may be a bit arrogant to say this, but my aim is to make Thandi one of the biggest, strongest empowerment brands in the wine industry,” said Henn passionately.

Thandi was launched in the UK, with a Cabernet Sauvignon, but the range has since expanded to include single and dual varietals such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.

In 2003, Thandi became the first wine brand in the world to receive Fairtrade accreditation. Thandi’s commitment to quality and excellence is evident in the number of awards such as a silver medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2001 and 2004, and gold medals for it Sauvignon Semillon 2004 and 2005 at the Veritas awards which it has garnered.

Henn's main focus is to unleash Thandi's full potential in terms of maintaining the impeccable quality of the wine, creating awareness among consumers about Fairtrade and expand existing markets. Thandi boasts steady year-on-year growth, the 3-litre bag in Box Thandi Chardonnay Chenin Blanc 2007 was awarded the ALKO tender for Finland, and a surge in sales is expected during 2008.

For more information, visit www.thandi.com.



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