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2010 SOCCER CUP: Winemakers Target Soccer Fans


Recent Western Cape Business News

ON the back of still rising wine exports that continue to defy the global downturn, generic marketing body Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is planning to capitalise on the foreign interest in the 2010 Fifa World Cup by bringing out journalists to cover the tournament and visit the winelands next June.

WOSA CEO Su Birch says many of the European importers are also planning to bring their own customers on incentive programmes to South Africa for the games. “There has been enormous interest in particular from the European media in visiting South Africa for the tournament. Our intention is to ensure visiting foreign trade and media are exposed to our producers and activities in the winelands while they are here. We’ll give them a taste of true South African hospitality for which we have become famous. They’ll experience the spontaneous African warmth and excitement surround-ing the games and get to taste our wines in a new context.

In light of the strong turnout expected for the tournament, we have decided to give the thrust of our focus to this event next year, instead of dissipating our resources and holding Cape Wine three months later. It would be unwise to expect buyers to return after such a short interval, especially in the present global recession.

Cape Wine will resume in 2012 but in the meantime, we’ll be maintaining our strategy of taking our wines to key markets to ensure decision-makers and influencers are kept abreast of developments and innovation in our industry. We’ll continue to showcase our winemakers and our highly progressive eco-sustainability initiatives off-shore. Fortunately, our trade show and other networking activities in recent years have given us a very sound base from which to maintain our profile.

Birch was recently honoured in London by the leading UK journal, The Drinks Business, as Woman of the Year for her role in the enormous advances made by the South African wine industry on international markets over the past decade. She was also featured on Sky News and CNBC Europe, which highlighted how exports had grown more than threefold in volume within a decade, on a budget far smaller than many competitor generic marketing bodies.

South Africa is the ninth biggest wine producer in the world with 102 000 hectares cultivated to vine, representing 3% of global output. For the 12 months to April this year the country exported just over 403.3 million litres of wine to reflect a year-on-year growth of 17%. Sales to the UK were up 27%, to Germany, 12% and to Sweden, 26%. These are the country’s biggest markets. Birch says South Africa remains the fast-growing segment in the UK and occupies fifth position with a 10% share of the market. It is the fourth biggest player in Germany and the biggest in Sweden.

We remain confident of South Africa’s ability to compete in the global arena but we have to manage our resources as effectively as possible. We are used to working with very tight budgets and this has made us flexible with the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.”

Birch said WOSA would also be giving greater emphasis to reaching consumers directly. Last month in the UK it ran a highly innovative new campaign entitled The Great South African Wine Trail, which brought the flavours of South African wines and lifestyle to life for over a million consumers. A branded, double-decker hybrid and carbon-neutral bus filled with fynbos arrangements, grape vines and hosted by South African winemakers, travelled to eight major cities, going as far north as Edinburgh. Visitors were able to sample wines and talk to the winemakers and also learn about the country’s eco-initiatives.

Looking at the first four months of this year compared with a year ago, our key markets continue to deliver good growth, and we are seeing an encouraging increase in the sale of premium wines. Packaged wines for the period were up 12% and that is a very positive sign compared to how some other exporting countries are faring.”

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