The office is being run by Wosa's Michaela Stander. She has been focusing on Asia since 2008 but until now, has been doing so from South Africa, commuting to the east as required.
According to Wosa CEO Siobhan Thompson, having a regional market base means WOSA can better capitalise on opportunities on the Asian continent. She said: "We can now more effectively support the growing numbers of South African producers trading in Asia, along with their importers, through increased education, networking and involvement in trade and consumer exhibitions in the region."
She says Stander's priorities will be to focus on Hong Kong, which enjoys Asia's highest per capita consumption of wine and is also a centre of connoisseurship and a major Asian travel hub, as well as mainland China, Macau and Japan.
"Michaela is a highly experienced wine marketer. Her conversancy with Asia and many of its cultural dynamics, her familiarity with Japanese and her well-established networks with trade customers, sommeliers and wine educators are an asset to WOSA."
Thompson says: "The implementation of China's recent austerity measures and the resultant market correction is seeing the culture of gifting being replaced by the far more sustainable culture of consumption. In this context, wine-lovers are increasingly looking for excellence at realistic prices. We are certainly extremely well placed in this regard, from luxury to more affordable offerings.
Over the 12 months to September 2014, SA Wine Industry & Information Systems (SAWIS), show that year-on-year sales volumes of bottled wines to China were up by 5% and to Japan, by 14%.
WOSA already has a China-facing Wosa website, working with a Hong Kong based IT company and translators for content. It has also commissioned a Beijing-based company to expand the social media presence for South African wine via Weibo, YouKu and WeChat.
In Japan Wosa is working with a well known wine educator, running an education programme for wine retail and on-consumption trade as well as consumers, backed by the publication of a book on South African wine written by Japan's Wine & Spirit Culture Association.
Wosa will also be participating at two exhibitions this month, the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair from November 6 to 8, and then, at the second Prowine China exhibition, taking place November 12 to 14.