South Africa wine: tipping point

06 November, 2015

With a weak rand and rising costs, he said: “We are using our equipment and technology differently, and the result is increasing vitality, refreshment and elegance in our wines. Some of us have returned to the practices handed down by our forefathers. Others apply the latest available technology to optimise timing and resources. Yet others use a combination of both.

“We may not have extensive marketing budgets at our disposal but we tell our stories honestly, directly and courageously,” he added.

Regarding the political and economic backdrop to making wine, Jordaan said: “Our fractured socio-political past has challenged us to transform our industry, to become more inclusive and to pioneer ways that attest to fair working conditions and social sustainability.

“The Wine & Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) is a voluntary body that actively promotes ethical trade in the wine industry value chain through training, technical assessment and audits to assess compliance with a code of good practice.

“Its stakeholders include producers, retailers, trade unions, NGOs and government itself, and the growing accreditation of producers shows a genuine commitment to improve the lives of wine farm workers, their families and communities. In this spirit, South Africa also produces more Fairtrade-certified wines than any other country in the world.”

Jordaan said Wosa had embarked on initiatives to empower historically dispossessed people through ownership in farms, brands and businesses and, through preferential procurement, to grow emergent commercial ventures and employment. It has bursaries, scholarships and training schemes to encourage more participants to work in the South African wine industry.

He said: “We are hard-working, industrious and positive. We believe in ourselves but have the humility to recognise that, after a little more than two decades in the international marketplace, there is still much we need to know.

Jordaan concluded: “We have found our voice. We are being called original, bold and daring. We are proud to be described as one of the most exciting wine-producing countries in the world, if not the most exciting of all. We are becoming increasingly confident in our experience, our knowledge of our vineyards, our wines and ourselves. But we also understand that with such praise comes the responsibility of meeting rising expectations.”

Accolade Wines’ lead winemaker, South Africa, Bruce Jack says: “In weak, high potential markets such as the US our main competition is often less obvious than our own internal issues like a lack of real funding for our generic marketing arm, WOSA.

“For South Africa in general our best export markets are the UK, Sweden, The Netherlands and Germany, mostly due to historic reasons and partly driven by tourism. We believe the US is close to opening up for our Accolade South African portfolio.

“From a grape-growing perspective, we have flexible but effective wine control systems, free from archaic and often market-unfriendly legislation, but with excellent traceability. This is a huge advantage. I call it ‘homeground advantage’,” says Jack.

Distell has announced a new global marketing campaign for its flagship wine brand Nederburg. SA’s major wine producer says Nederburg is one of its fastest-growing brands. Over the past year sales have increased by double digits, including in some of its most established markets such as Germany.

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