Xania van der Merwe, a Lowveld girl, who after studying in Potchefstroom, started her career in Johannesburg before she embraced her love for the Cape Winelands. Xania has been working in the wine industry since 2013, where she and her family chose to leave the hustle and bustle of city life to settle and raise their family in the tranquil little Boland town of Wellington. At Potchefstroom University, she completed a degree in Consumer Science followed by a Master’s Degree in Consumer Retail Behaviour. After the move to Wellington, her passion for the town quickly snowballed into a professional career entailing research, marketing, PR and wine related business. In 2013, Xania became a Board member of Paarl Tourism and was proudly part of the team that transformed local tourism to the united tourism organisation, now known as the DLTA (Drakenstein Local Tourism Association). In 2014, Xania worked with the Wellington Wine Route on Customer Experience Management, proudly wearing her SESA (Service Experience South Africa) hat. As owner of SESA, she conducted market research on consumer behaviour and customer experience working for various clients in the
wine industry and also some larger corporates such as MNET. At the same time, Xania was also a Marketing & PR lecturer at CPUT. In 2015, Xania joined Wellington Wines as their National Sales & Marketing Manager, where she joined the Wellington Wine Route as a committee member and was later elected Chairperson in 2016. She then went on to represent the Wellington Wine Route on the DLTA Board. At Wellington Wines, Xania and her team transformed the old sales office into a prominent Tasting Room and conference facility, which has since become one of the hotspots in Wellington that both locals and tourists frequently visit. The StreetSmart initiative was introduced for the first time at this Tasting Room and has since become an integral part of the Wellington Wines Social Responsibility program.