Cape Town, Day 3

Wednesday, March 8

Delheim Winery, and a gigantic appreciation for all that goes into preserving a family business in South Africa. Gracious hosts, excellent food, awesome scenery, what more could one hope from the Delheim visit! From there we added a second visit to Coca Cola, including a tour of the bottle production facility. How about today? What did you learn about South Africa, business in South Africa, Delheim or Coca Cola? What insights did you gain for yourself?

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What a view! I mean, what a view!

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10 Responses to “Cape Town, Day 3”

  1. Caley Says:

    I loved the discussion at Delheim. It was so open and honest that it took me aback. I didn’t realize how much money the owners had to spend to combat crime on their property. They were facing some very diverse and costly setbacks that included new regulation, drought issues and distribution barriers. Plus, I was disappointed by the stigma that still exists in South Africa for women in business. Overall, this was by far my favorite business visit.

  2. Phil Says:

    I think the Delheim company visit could be summed up into one word: defeat. It was an absolutely beautiful backdrop with delicious wine, but the family owners’ disposition on government, quotas, and business women was interesting to say the least. The attitude was “that’s just the way it is”, with little motivation to change and disrupt the status quo.

  3. Samantha Frapart Says:

    First things first: Delheim winery was GORGEOUS. I’ve never seen a backdrop quite like it.

    As a marketer, I was pretty impressed with the Sperling family’s understanding of their target market and the importance of anticipating consumer needs. I can’t imagine how challenging it must be to have your ear to the ground for changing consumer preferences when it takes upwards of three years to create a new product.

    I do wish there was more discussion about the challenges of climate change and environmental impacts. I had tried to ask about this, but it seemed to spur what I found a slightly racist monologue about the challenges of having a staff that steals and/or doesn’t show up on time. It would have been nice to see more commitment not only to what the political quota system means for SA businesses, but also to the environment on which they depend.

  4. Sam Says:

    The most interesting observation I had today was the verbal and non-verbal frustration expressed by Victor, and especially by Nora, at their current situation. Whether it was decisions about running the business, or the obvious friction with the two siblings living in Europe, their candor was both refreshing and worrisome. As we started to see in previous days, businesses are not immune to the various “-isms” that South Africa is wrestling with – namely racism and sexism.

  5. John Says:

    Delheim was beautiful, but Coca Cola was the most interesting thing to me. It was a nice compliment to some of the work we’d been doing in other MBA classes (like the Cola Wars case in Strategic Management), and I really enjoyed seeing the way a multi-national corporation operates at such large scales and to hear about the unique in-country challenges.

  6. Linda Says:

    Delheim winery was gorgeous and I always appreciate a good family business story. I wish them the best moving forward and hope they can successfully integrate the BEE requirements.

    Looking back on Coca-Cola after the entire trip, I’m concerned that they’re not providing the right beverages to the people of South Africa. In the US, people are learning that sugary soft drinks should be consumed more like treats and lawmakers are taking note of the dangers of overconsumption, too. From what I saw in other parts of the country, sugary sodas and juices are consumed more than water. For example, in our homestay, Preeta and I were offered only juice and Coke. I didn’t notice them ever drink water. I also saw people in the township drinking large bottles of cola. I personally think Coca-Cola should make bottled water more plentiful than sodas.

  7. Tyler Says:

    One of the most poignant moments in the whole trip for me came during the Q&A with the sister who co-runs Delheim Winery. One of us had asked her whether she foresaw any progress with gender equality in South African business. The sister’s answer was essentially that she didn’t see any hope for that in South Africa – women are equal only inasmuch as men agree to treat them as equals, and South African men just don’t view women as equals, especially in business affairs. That comment has stayed with me.

  8. Bill Quach Says:

    Delheim was the most impactful visit for me. Coming from a family owned industrial business prior to business school and learning about similar struggles faced by this wine manufacturer made me feel less alone. It was great to have an experienced business leader who had completed an MBA speak to us. She seemed to understand our group and provide us with many meaningful insights. I took interest in what they had to say about government intervention and business survival. I feel conflicted about what course of action can provide the most benefit for the those that have been previously ravaged by their government and society.

    The contrast between a lower volume, high quality beverage maker and a high volume Coke factory was astonishing. The contrast between the two locations and workplaces was astonishing as well. MBAs often strive to work for multinational corporations, but after these visits, I question: why?

  9. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Wednesday, 8 March: Our venture to Delheim Winery proved to be incredibly relaxing. The venue was indescribably picturesque as were many areas we happened upon during our time in South Africa. In discussing business matters, politics crept into the discussion once again as it had during our visit to the South Africa Rugby Union. It seems that businesses struggle to balance governmental initiatives that appear to possess some nobility on the surface, but ultimately are merely artificial and unsustainable means of supporting factions of society that certainly need support, but in different, more sustainable ways. More than anything, the support needed among some parts of this society must center around foundational life skills which enable people to earn dignified livings supporting themselves and their families.

  10. Parnali Says:

    Our visit today with Delheim Winery was extremely eye opening. Not only was this the most incredibly beautiful vineyard I had ever visited, but hearing the owners so candidly speak about the many hardships they have faced being based in South Africa, and that too being part of a family business was very telling. I gained immense appreciation for those who operate their businesses within South Africa and have to deal with the many hardships of the city – i.e. high crime rates that require business owners to hire guards that work and protect the property 24/7. Further, listening to the perspective of a family business and how often both of our hosts contemplated quitting the business and/or walking away from their family was very eye-opening.

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