Peter Koff

Peter Koff


Peter was born in South Africa and soon developed a taste for the fine wines which South Africans took for granted. As Peter’s interest in wine deepened, so did his quest for wine knowledge. This led to Peter’s sitting examinations for the qualification of Cape Wine Master. In 1984, Peter passed the Cape Wine Master examination to become one of only five in South Africa; today there are still fewer than one hundred. The Cape Wine Master qualification was developed on the lines of the British Master of wine qualification, in conjunction with their institute. Wine was a hobby for Peter, albeit an all-consuming one. Peter qualified as a Civil Engineer, went on to complete an MBA and then moved into the computer world, first as a systems engineer and then as a large mainframe marketing representative, with IBM.

In 1987, despairing of the likelihood of much needed political reform in South Africa, Peter decided to emigrate and settled in the USA. As it turns out, the political changes that would have allowed Peter to continue living in South Africa came to pass but Peter had already left.

Shortly after Peter’s arrival in the USA, the UK Master of Wine program was opened up to the world, giving Peter the opportunity to pursue a long cherished dream. Peter qualified as a Master of Wine in 1993, one of twelve in the USA at the time.

In 1991, Peter saw that political progress in South Africa was such that the resumption of South African wine sales in the USA would be permitted. Peter saw an opportunity to be involved with wine and to be independent so he left the computer world and, in 1992, began a wine importing and wholesaling business, beginning with the wines of South Africa. Today that company, Fairest Cape Beverage Company, represents wines from California, Oregon, Washington, Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, and New Zealand in addition to South Africa. Peter has also lectured wine appreciation courses at the extension programs of UCLA, Irvine Valley College and independently.

Peter is a frequent judge at wine shows, both locally and abroad. Peter offers consultancy and logistics services to the wine industry.

Peter has a private pilot’s license and other hobbies include wine, working out and swimming. Peter is married to Valerie and they have two sons; Joshua and Benjamin. They live in Irvine California.

  • Title: President, Fairest Cape Beverage Company, Inc.
  • Location: Irvine, CA
  • Years in Industry: 30+