Meet Christi Moon of Babylonstoren – The Camp Sister Who Brings the Wine!
From left to right: Gene Azurmendi, Gino Azurmendi, Charl Coetzee, and Christi Moon – The US Babylonstoren wine team!
The CampExperience™ Network is a global community of women that come together to Do Good and Have Fun! Based in Denver, most of our Camp Sisters (as we call ourselves) are based in Colorado, but not all of them. Our group of amazing women aims to make an impact by helping women build their businesses (and themselves) no matter where they live.
Today, we are interviewing Christi Moon of Babylonstoren. Christi is a favorite among our Camp Sisters because she brings the wine to our social events!
Let’s dive in and learn more about Christi, and Babylonstoren.
Christi, tell us a little bit about Babylonstoren.
Our wine is made on our farm in historic Camp Dutch, South Africa. However, we sell this wine throughout the world – in the United States, China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, as well as several countries on the African continent.
What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
Babylonstoren is a garden, farm, hotel, and winery. There are 3 restaurants on the property in South Africa.
Babylonstoren USA, consisting of my father, brother, and myself, specializes in getting our wines to markets in the US. We handle everything Babylonstoren in the USA. That could be online orders, newsletters, promotions, finding distributors in new markets, working with the distributors and their salespeople, hosting dinners, tastings, and now setting up virtual tastings.
Babylonstoren is a wonderful, socially responsible company. Even now, with South Africa on lockdown and no one eating at the restaurant, staying at the hotel, or paying to walk through the gardens, the owners are committed to keeping the team on full pay as long as possible.
The garden is the heart of the property. There are over 300 types of edible fruit, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Babylonstoren is committed to creating a utopia where guests can walk through the gardens and learn about the plants, taste anything that looks ripe, and experience a true farm to table experience. The farms are constantly working to make good food better and finding ways to grow and produce it in a less expensive way so it is available to more people who need It.
Babylonstoren has also started a school that is free to the children that attend. They also send the children of their employees to school in South Africa. This is huge because school costs money there, even public schools.
Everyone on the property gets lunch every day. This not only puts food in everyone's belly, but it creates a community on the property between the different groups: hospitality, the winery, the farm, the garden, the restaurants, the offices, etc.
“Not everyone can get to Babylonstoren In South Africa, but everyone can buy a bottle of our delicious wine and be a part of this message.”
I am truly proud that I get to represent them here in the US. The wine is delicious and a deal for what consumers are receiving. That doesn't hurt either!
Selling wine for a living and getting to travel the world sounds amazing! How did you start working for Babylonstoren?
My dad took me to Argentina when I graduated from college and a cousin of ours asked if we could sell Argentine wine in the US. It planted a seed and two years later we imported our first Argentine wine.
Along the way, we’ve made mistakes and learned many lessons, but were blessed with good luck and my dad's ability to never know a stranger. He is instant friends with everyone he meets.
Hard work, and some help along the way, have gotten us where we are now.
Starting from nothing and then building a business from the ground up is hard. Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely not been smooth. It took a long time before we could pay ourselves. We had customers go out of business while owing us money. We didn't have a travel budget for quite some time.
I remember meeting at my dad's house at 5 am so we could drive to Raleigh, NC to work in the market all day. We would then work the next day and drive home, usually arriving between 10-11 pm. This way, we only had to pay for a hotel for one night. It was exhausting!
But, I appreciate every luxury I have on the road these days and wouldn't know the difference had I not experienced that.
Tell us a bit about your BIG vision for your business. What impact are you hoping to make with your work?
I really want to get more people to Babylonstoren to see the farm and the garden and see what the fuss is all about when it comes to this property. I am working on planning an all-inclusive trip to Cape Town, some surrounding areas and Babylonstoren, of course. I think it's our next wave in reaching people and showing them what we are doing and how we are making a positive impact both locally and globally.
What is a pain point you solve for your customers?
Supporting our clients by teaching them how to sell South African wine. It still isn't widely known in the US. It's a growing market, but only makes up about 3% of wine sales in the US. Giving our clients the tools to teach them how to sell the wine to their customers is key.
What is a tip you would like to share with the CampExperience™ Network audience?
Don't wait to use your good china, open that special bottle of wine, or treat yourself to that luxury you’ve been putting off.
Using it today, drinking it today, makes today special.
If you had one statement to share with all the women in the world, what would it be?
We are in this together. Support one another. Know that you are worthy of a seat at the table. Too often we accept less attention, money, credit, etc. because we don't value what we bring to the table.
How can our audience find out more about Babylonstoren and support this great sister business and become a part of your amazing story?
Enjoy sips and gifts from South Africa year-round by joining the Babylonstoren Wine Club! We love Babylonstoren and we hope you'll give them a try - and fall in love like we have.
If you’d like to try Babylonstoren’s South African wine, check out their online shop here: https://shop.babylonstoren.com/categories/wine
Find out more about their wine club here:
The CampExperience™ Network is often blessed to have these wines at many of our social events and at our CampExperience™ Fall Retreat each September. Find out more about that fantastic weekend where we all go away to CAMP at CampExperienceRetreat.com.