Shropshire’s Roger Gabb is the brains behind the global successful South African wine brand Kumala.
Roger Gabb founded Telford-based Western Wines in 1980 from his kitchen table in Shropshire, ultimately developing the Kumala brand in 1995 and turning the company into Britain’s leading importer of South African Wines.
In 2004 he sold Western Wines for £133 million, with he and his family netting £55 million from the sale.
By the time Canadian wine company, Vincor International bought the company it was the largest independent wine importer and distributor in the UK and Kumala was the only top 10 wine owned by a private company.
In 1986 Roger Gabb formed a partnership with Italian co-ops which ultimately resulted in Western Wines being responsible for one bottle in every case of Italian wine sold in the UK off-trade.
An ex-captain in the Welsh Guards who saw special forces services in Borneo and Kenya, Roger Gabb – now 71 – is a keen sportsman and does a great deal of charitable work.
In 2003 he climed Mera Peak, the highest of Nepal’s designated trekking peaks, and in the process raised more than £25,000 for charities including the Wine & Spirit Benevolent fund.
He is founder and chairman of South African wine company Journeys End.
He and his family replanted the Journeys End vineyards in the Helderberg Basin in 1996, and opened a new boutique winery in 2010.
His son Rollo is sales and marketing director at Journeys End, as well as partner in the successful London restaurants Quo Vadis, Fino and Barrafina.
He also has a stake in Bibendum Wine.