“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.”

– Rudyard Kipling –

Who We Are

Learn about our story

We are a passionate, established wine import and distribution business based in The Big Easy, New Orleans.

Our focus is to bring great South African wines to the South of the United States of America.

South to South Wine Importers is a Federally licensed wine importer and a Louisiana licensed wine importer, distributor, and wholesaler.

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Our Team

Meet the team

Suzaan

Suzaan Laing

Founder | Owner, based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Love for both New Orleans and Cape Town, and a passion for South African wine, led to the founding of South To South Wine Importers to share quality of South African wine with wine drinkers in the southern states of the US.

Lawyer by profession for 25 years, licensed in both South Africa and Louisiana, and graduate of Stellenbosch and Tulane Universities.

Mark

Mark von Bentheim

IN MEMORIAM | Co-Founder 1969 – 2022

We suffered the tragic, sudden loss of our business partner and co-founder, Mark, in Cape Town on June 4th, 2022. Mark was passionate about a great many things, including wine, South Africa, marketing and brand strategy, his family and friends and, above all, his wife Melita. 

Our lives and our business can never be the same without him – his talent, warmth, friendship, humour, strategic thinking, boldness, generosity, sense of adventure, enthusiasm, passion for life. Mark will always be on this wine journey with us.  We honour and hold his memory dear, with deep gratitude for his invaluable contribution.

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Melita von Bentheim

Business Partner, based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Melita was born on the island of Korčula, Croatia and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She is a lawyer who lives and works in Cape Town.  Melita’s career started as an international trade & transport attorney, from where she moved to become senior in-house counsel to multi-national South African retail group, Woolworths, before starting her own boutique commercial consultancy in 2018.  

Her favorite wine?  Rose!  And her favorite music?  “Anything that makes you move.” Joie de vivre, style and positive energy are her hallmarks.

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Stephanie Jacko

Administration & Logistics, based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Hailing from Indiana, Stephanie moved to New Orleans in 2017.  She has a degree in film from Ball State University and holds a bartender’s license in Louisiana.  Has worked previously in film production, wine retail, a rock school and as a logistics manager.

Stephanie is responsible for managing our warehouse, logistics and office administration. 

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Kaila Pulliam Collins

Sales & marketing assistant, based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kaila is a New Orleanian with a passion for wine.  Wine for her is story-telling, and also an ancestral tradition of her family’s back to her great-great grandmother who made her own wine in Mississippi dating back to the late 1800’s.  She is an alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in business administration: sales & marketing.  She has worked in fashion retail, beverage marketing and most recently as a caviste.  (She is proficient in French.) 

She is working toward completion of her Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) sommelier qualification, for which she has been awarded a scholarship.  Kaila has a particular interest in natural and sustainably-produced wines.  Her favorite holiday is Mardi Gras as it passes tradition, celebrates community, and it connects tradition, present, future, and costuming.

 

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Emily Guiza

Sales representative, based in New Orleans (North Shore), Louisiana.

Emily is from New Orleans where she graduated with a BA in marketing from Tulane University.  Passionate about polo and horses, she did sports marketing in Dallas and Palm Beach, including working for the world’s top female polo player at the time.  She had also worked in sales for a New Orleans-based wine distributor.

In 2020 she bought a farm in Folsom, Louisiana, where she rehabilitates thoroughbred horses.  She is an avid polo player, and a  member of the New Orleans Polo Club.  Her favorite wines are big Cabernet Sauvignons, and her best holiday is Thanksgiving when she entertains her extended family on the farm.  What she loves about New Orleans is that there is always something social to do, restaurants to explore and people to meet.

Our Distributors

Meet the distributors

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Seth Hargett & Ree Segars

Absintheminded Enterprises, Alabama

Seth and Ree are partners in Alabama wine distribution company, Absintheminded Enterprises, based outside of Mobile on the Gulf Coast.  They distribute fine wines all across the State which is renowned for Southern hospitality.

Seth began his career path as a chef during college at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Learning from the ground up led him to New Orleans, LA where he worked for Emeril’s and the Brennan family. After being gone from his home in Alabama for almost a decade, he returned to pursue his love of cooking and opened two restaurants specializing in local cuisine and popular wine dinners. 

Ree is from Birmingham, AL. She retired from the accounting world as a CFO and has loved learning about the wine industry, and meeting all of the wonderful people who work in it. 

Along with wine buyer, Mike Gibson, they are growing their business by specializing in supplying fine dining restaurants, boutique wine shops, and private clubs around the state of Alabama. 

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Mark Warren

Pilar Wine Brokers, LLC,  Mississippi

Mark is honored to have been one of the first sommeliers to pass Court of Master Sommelier certifications in Mississippi, and he is the only CMS Advanced Sommelier in the State.

Before becoming the managing partner of Pilar Wine Brokers, based in Jackson MS, he spent fifteen years with MGM Resorts, working in Las Vegas, Biloxi, and Washington DC. Before that, he was recruited to create an import sales division for a growing distributor in Virginia.  He joined The Country Vintner in 2001 as the director of Australian and New Zealand estates. This opportunity allowed him to work as an importer, distributor, and marketing agent creating brand concepts, labels, and sales strategies that are still used today. He helped grow this business from a small regional company to one of the largest wine companies in the USA, now known as Winebow.

 

Mark proudly hails from Mississippi where he lives in Gulfport.  After college he moved to Maryland where he knew a restaurateur opening a promising new venture in north Baltimore and got a job there. That restaurant was the Oregon Grille and it was the preferred venue for The Wine Advocate, the premier wine publication created by Robert (Bob) Parker. During his year there, Mark and Bob tasted every wine of relevance. Every first growth Bordeaux, DRC, La Las, everything. This education taught him the classic wine styles and introduced him to legends in the wine industry. Mark next moved to San Francisco and attended the California Culinary Academy.  He has gathered a wealth of wine knowledge and industry experience in a wine career spanning the USA.