On-line Wine Is At Home In Hawke’s Bay

Sourcing great wine deals every day is giving John Macpherson the ride of his life, having swapped a successful global data company for a wine shop. Advintage, in Havelock North, according to its website, is a wine shop on steroids and a must-visit for anyone who enjoys wine and loves a bargain. It is also one of New Zealand’s largest online wine retailers. The business started in 1999 in a draughty shed as a bit of an indulgent adventure for John (Mac) Macpherson after selling a software company. He would buy in cases of wine then fax a few mates and bar and restaurant owners with news of the latest deals. “The concept was around providing somewhere for people interested in wine but who didn’t want to feel intimidated by fine wine store pretentiousness. “My plan was always ambitious – to own a business with a national presence. It was never going to be limited to a Hawke’s Bay market.”


Advintage reaches more than 85,000 people through various marketing channels, thousands of cases of wine depart the Advintage warehouse every month and it can often sell many hundreds of cases of the same wine in a day. Auckland is the biggest market and orders received before 4 pm can be on the buyer’s doorstep by breakfast time the following day. The delivery might be a deal on great quaffers under $10 through to high rollers such as three-litre jeroboams of champagne. “Advintage was an early adopter of e-commerce, way back when people thought it was something cool that wouldn’t last, something a bit avant-guarde, yet now it’s obligatory. E-commerce was a real game changer for us.” John is certainly experimental and innovative, pushes the boundaries of the accepted business norm but has built a reputation of offering better deals, better service and a down-to-earth attitude about wine. He thought, but only briefly, about opening an Advintage store in Auckland. He would make more money but would be giving up too much in terms of lifestyle and pleasure. “Havelock North is a real community and Hawke’s Bay an idyllic holiday destination but it is also an amazing place to live, work and prosper. People get excited when they come here so I say: ‘shift here’. “If you’re smart you should come to Hawke’s Bay and you’ll do well, there’s an oasis of opportunity here to stand out if you’re running a metropolitan-standard business.”