Harper, Sandy

Year Qualified: 2014

Sandy Harper earned her qualification in 2014 with her dissertation on “Informal Wine Tasting Clubs as a Marketing Channel for Small Wine Brands,” securing the La Motte Award for Excellence in Viticulture upon graduation. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Home Economics with a focus on Food Science and Air Transport Economics from Stellenbosch University.

Sandy’s career began in advertising at Draft FCB, leading to the establishment of her own enterprise, MILLS CREATIVE. In 2001, she founded the Old Mutual Executive Wine Club and, for 23 years, has organized Corporate Wine Tastings for Old Mutual.

In 2020, amidst the pandemic, Sandy launched SandyWine, a specialized wine marketing brand, hosting online Wine Tastings nationally for Old Mutual and Old Mutual Wealth Private Clients. Guests receive curated Tasting Kits, designed for six guests and accompanied by a donation to the Isabelo School Feeding program in Franschhoek, part of the “Taste with Conscience” campaign, now in its third year.

Sandy initiated Sandy’s Snippets, an online magazine bringing positive news from the wine industry to Old Mutual’s Executive and Management teams. Under SandyWine, she hosts industry-related wine tastings and workshops.

Notable accolades include the ‘Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne’ (2013) and induction into the ‘Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux’ (2014). She completed the Michael Fridjhon Tasting Academy in 2015 and serves as a judge for the (IWSC) International Wine and Spirits Competition, both locally and in London. Sandy is a lecturer at the Cape Wine Academy and one of three traveling judges for the national Heineken Inter Hotel Challenge, supporting skills development in the Hospitality Industry. Since 2019, she judges for the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Competition.

Sandy’s judging roles in 2023 included the Concourse International de Lyon in March, the inaugural ABSA Vintage Pinotage Competition in May, the 2023 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Competition in July, and judging for the South African contingent of the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) in August.

Sandy resides in Sheffield Beach, KwaZulu Natal, with her husband Mike Harper, and they have two daughters, Megan and Lauren.

Dissertation Download

Other Publications

Dissertation Topic

The relevance of informal wine tasting clubs as a potential marketing channel for small and new wine brands