1. Winning wines
Derek Ramsden won the 2012 Van Ryn’s Award for Brandy Excellence after achieving the highest score in the examination section devoted to brandy in the Cape Wine Masters (CWM) programme.
2. Becoming professional
The former cabinet maker had his interest in fine wine piqued when he tasted a rather special red about a decade ago. Up until then, he wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. He signed up for a course at the Cape Wine Academy and learnt everything he could about being a wine professional. He had been running a furniture factory for 20 years, but by 2009 he knew he was ready to start his own wine business.
3. Filling the gap
“I wanted to combine the two things I am most passionate about, cabinetry and wine, so I set up One Wine Cellar. We design and manufacture wine cellars for clients, including the wine racks, lighting and cooling, fridges, the correct glasses for each style of wine, decanters and everything else needed to make each bottle an enjoyable experience,” he explains. “The cellar is then stocked with the latest wines and vintages that best suit the client’s palette and those of their family and friends. It’s a service that enhances the joy of drinking wine.”
4. Making connections
Ramsden funded his start-up with money from the sale of the furniture business. It wasn’t much, but because he is a great believer in networking, he soon secured his first clients. As with many niche offerings, word of mouth helped to grow the business rapidly.
Attracting a wealthy clientele
When he started the brandy tasting part of the CWM course, he had zero knowledge about brandy. “The more I got into it, the more I started to enjoy it. That’s how I ended up scoring the highest marks and winning the award.”
The achievement gives him added credibility in a rarified industry, enabling him to stand out from the crowd. “Snob factor is important in such a specialised sector,” he says. “My clients are proud to use the services of a qualified consultant because of the prestige it adds to their homes having a personalised and well managed cellar.”