|SA LEADING THE WAY IN WINE MARKETING
Five years ago, South Africa was no more than an incidental player on the international wine stage, but today, armed with a growing share in major export markets, the country is setting the pace for its wine-producing competitors in the way it presents to the trade.
Breaking from the long-established tradition of hosting a national generic road show in the major export markets, South Africa is consolidating all its resources normally directed at the British and European markets and putting them towards a single high-impact event, to be presented in exhibition format and for which it is possible to register on http://www.wosa.co.za/
Wines of South Africa (WOSA)* is planning what it calls a Mega Tasting aimed at the Pan European market, scheduled for October 11 and 12 in the trendy Old Billingsgate venue that fronts onto London's Thames River. Focusing on the Cape's biodiversity and the effect this has on the country's wines, and including a range of themed tastings, the super stylish event could well be the biggest generic national tasting ever presented by a wine-producing country.
In addition to wine media, it is directed at the British and European wine trade, including retail chains, specialist wine shops, the hotel, restaurant and catering industries, that collectively account for virtually 90% of South Africa's wine exports.
Over 200 producers are already committed to taking part, representing the full spectrum from boutique vintners to corporates, co-operatives, garagistes and negoçiants in a way that focuses on the stylistic scope and site-specificity of Cape wines.
Says WOSA CEO Su Birch: "As far as we know, no such event has been offered by another wine-producing country. We are, in effect, bringing the industry to the nexus of the European market. We have chosen this route as more and more of the buyers on the Continent are converging on London to establish what is new in the international marketplace. This has allowed us to present a single show that highlights what sets us apart from our competitors."
The Mega Tasting will showcase producers by region, rather than under the banner of their importing agents and will also include a series of themed presentations, highlighting what is new and exciting to emerge from South Africa. To give buyers easy access to trade data on all the participants, WOSA has created a detailed on-line catalogue, featuring all participating wineries, their products and price points. This way visitors can prepare fully before they arrive and use their time as productively as possible at the exhibition, says Birch.
Already attracting on-line bookings from UK and across Europe, the Mega Tasting is being seen both as a mark of South Africa's maturity and assuredness in tackling global markets, and a measure of the respect the country has been accorded as a serious contender in the world of wine. Last year it boasted a 10% value share of the UK's off-trade sector, up from 6,3% in 2000, this at a time when many other producers were forced to lower average retail selling prices in the fight for consumer attention in an over-supplied market. South Africa has also been making inroads in Britain's on-trade segment, where last year it acquired a 5,3% volume share of the market.
On the Continent, South Africa's presence is also growing at a healthy pace. In the Netherlands, where it is the number two producer, it still managed to grow retail volumes by 22% between 2003 and 2004. Although France remained the biggest seller in Dutch supermarkets, South Africa grew its volume share of this market from 9,7% in 2000 to 17,4% in 2004 and indications are that this is being further increased, based on sales in the first few months of this year. In Germany, South Africa far outpaced the value growth achieved by the total wine market for the 12 months to February 2005. While the value of the total German wine market grew just 0,2% in this period, South African wine sales rose 24%.
Denmark sales almost doubled between 2000 and 2004, giving the country a 4,5% volume share of the retail market, and in Sweden, they more than trebled, to reach 11,4%, ahead of France, but catching up on Spain and Italy in the first and second positions. South African white wines are the most popular in Sweden, while reds currently occupy fourth place
WOSA's maiden Mega Tasting will highlight the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and richest in the world, with over 9 600 species, which is more than the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, and explore how this impacts on the country's vastly varied wine styles and expression of site.
The Mega Tasting will champion South Africa's home-grown wine offerings, along with its more mainstream ranges. A line-up has been planned of "soetes", the dessert and fortified wines, first made famous by Jane Austen and Napoleon. Pinotage will also be featured in the 2004 Top Ten Pinotage selection, as will Chenin Blanc, the country's most widely planted varietal, as well as an extensive range of wines produced for restaurants, wine bars and pubs.
For further details, visit http://www.wosa.co.za/.
DATE ISSUED JUNE..., 2005
ISSUED BY DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS)
ON BEHALF OF WINES OF SOUTH AFRICA (WOSA)
QUERIES SU BIRCH, CEO, WOSA (021) 883 3860 or 082 563 0677
TESSA DE KOCK/PIPPA PRINGLE, DKC (021) 422 2690, 082 579 2358
*Wines of South Africa is the international marketing company of the South African Wine and Brandy Company.