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 Export Finance Australia through a banking event where Export Finance Australia 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 Export Finance Australia provided us with the flexibility to do that,” said Fisher.
The exportonline online portal was designed with small business exporters in mind. Providing unsecured loans from as little as $20,000 to $350,000, businesses can get access to critical funds in as little as nine business days.