Case Study: Winetech Innovation Challenge 2018

The South African wine industry is renowned worldwide, and has been for some time, as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens wrote about “Vin de Constance” in some of their most famous novels. Despite the notoriety, the wine industry has been a slow one to innovate with new technologies.  New techniques and styles have followed emerging trends and tastes, but little else has been transformed.


Winetech is aiming to change that. In partnership with LaunchLab, Winetech is looking to bring technology into the entire value chain.  From planting, to processing, marketing and distribution, every part of the wine (and beverage) value chain is ripe for disruption. With Winetech’s help, and incubation support from LaunchLab, your wine industry business idea can gain real traction and disrupt the industry.


Info Sessions


We held info sessions at various partner campuses around South Africa to provide context to the opportunities with LaunchLab and our corporate partners.




LaunchLab received pitches in the form of 3 minute videos on our website which happened over the course of 7 weeks.


During the pitch, participants focused on these key points:


  • Problem or need addressed: Provide a brief summary of the business idea.
  • Value Proposition: How do plan to meet that need or solve that problem?
  • Business Model: How do you intend to make money?
  • Market Analysis: Who is the target market and how will you access them?
  • Progress and traction so far: What key milestones and achievements have you made?
  • Future plan: What is your strategy to grow your business?


The Outcome


The winner of the South Africa Wine Industry Innovation Challenge is Jan Thomas and team from Ask-Jean, with a winning concept of an app which innovatively predicts your wine preferences. He was chosen by a panel of judges from 7 outstanding pitches presented at the Stellenbosch University LaunchLab on Friday, 2 November. The second place went to Torsten Babl from Ackerview, with an idea that uses data to save time and money for farmers. There was also a student award that went to Martha Mukama Asiimwe from Vino Tea, with an innovative tea using grape agri-processing waste which produces quality tea.