Zonte's Footstep

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Wine discovery in McLaren Vale

Zonte’s Footstep is a wine brand working out of South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Even the business name is tied to the Fleurieu region and a play on the currant variety, Zante, planted in Langhorne Creek in the 1890s – a small and sweet intense flavoured grape. The name, says Managing Director Anna Fisher, is a hat tip to the story of the company’s footsteps as they travel their journey of wine discovery.

Established in 2003, the business works with a number of local wine brands sharing back office, production and export resources. Since 2009, Zonte’s has increased its sales 5-fold. With a strong domestic market, Zonte’s looked to grow its business globally.

“At the moment our largest export market is Canada, followed by Sweden. We also export to the USA, UK, Singapore, Thailand and China. Our exports make up about 60% of our revenue. Ultimately, we’d like to see ourselves 80% export focused,” said Fisher.

A journey to Canada

In 2011 the business developed a strong relationship with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). This year the LCBO increased their order, making Zonte’s the second largest imported brand in the LCBO “vintage” segment. With a growing export market this put added pressure on Zonte’s cashflow. Long client payment terms and a bank unable to provide further assistance due to lack of security, Zonte’s needed to find an alternative source of financial support.

“I found out about Efic through a banking event where Efic presented on their products. At that point in time the minimum requirement was $500,000, which was above what we needed.

“The introduction of the Small Business Export Loan has been fantastic for small business exporters like Zonte’s. The ability to do a simple online application that provides the added flexibility of choosing our own repayment terms was brilliant. It was important for us to be able to set the terms around what we felt we were able to deliver, and Efic provided us with the flexibility to do that,” said Fisher.

The EficDirect online portal was designed with small business exporters in mind. Providing unsecured loans from as little as $50,000 to $250,000, businesses can get access to critical funds in as little as nine business days.

Financial support to move forward

“We received a $250,000 loan with a 12-month repayment term. It really helped us manage our working capital. If we hadn't gotten the funding from Efic, it would have been extremely difficult to fulfil our orders. Efic has given us the confidence to keep moving forward,” explained Fisher.

When asked about what the future looks like for Zonte’s, Fisher commented, “Wine is such a fantastic industry and I've been very lucky to have found my home here. Zonte’s is a passion. I love the wine we make. We're trying to make wine that appeals to developing drinkers, or people who are learning about wine. We don't want to make it overcomplicated.”

"Thanks to Efic, Zonte’s Footstep is firmly on the path to export success.” Anna Fisher, Managing Director, Zonte’s Footstep."

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