SAWEX | 4i


South Africa’s first digital bulk wine trading ecosystem


The Brief

A premier online wine exchange platform that facilitates bulk trade, efficiently connecting vendors and delegates.

4i was challenged with the task of creating the first online platform that could facilitate the bulk sourcing and trading of wine in South Africa. The idea was that this platform would connect vendors and delegates, and create efficiency in bulk trading.

It was found that many farms and estates have an oversupply of wine at times, and rely on agents to sell it as there is no way for farmers to inform other farms of their supply/ demand, other than personal connections or by attending the bi-yearly ibeta. Similarly, many wineries are often undersupplied and need to find a near perfect matching wine batch in a limited time frame, creating a major gap in the market. The trade process could require wine to be sourced and sampled multiple times before finding the correct match, often taking up to a month (if not longer). This means that bulk wine sourcing and trade is generally a slow and rigorous process.

There are also various unforeseen economical and environmental threats that impact the industry and have a pronounced effect on production. Moreover, utilising agents may not be as useful, because if the agent is unsuccessful, the winery will have to identify other agents, and this is at no small cost either.

How We Solved It

A seamless, interactive and online platform created for buyers and sellers that allows them to interact with each other directly, removing the middleman.

The project started off with an in-depth strategy phase that consisted of a competitive analysis, target market analysis, internal and external analysis, and understanding the user incentive. The key focus areas of the online platform were to create a fast, slick and user-friendly experience with a professional, simplistic and engaging design that connects buyers and sellers of bulk wine. Moreover, the platform required an appropriate payment system to be implemented so that users can easily pay to upload their bulk wine onto the platform.

By creating a platform for vendors to anonymously upload bulk wine, it solves the main constraint of time taken to source and sell wine. Cultivar, vintage, origin, wood, bottle ready wine, litres and price range are all available in the form of a feed, or searched through a filter feature where all uploaded batches are provided with their unique WSB number regulated by SAWIS to ensure details are correct. The platform will only charge users to upload wine, and will prove to be significantly cheaper than using agents. 

Core Features

Removing redundant 3rd parties

Decreasing turnaround time

Connecting sellers and buyers