Cape Town – South Africa and its wines do not have an attractive international image and this lack of sex appeal shows in falling in sales of SA wine, according to Jane Robertson, category development director at Accolade Wines.
Many retailers abroad do not understand South Africa and its wine, leading to them easily cutting local offerings from ranges they stock, she warned at the Nedbank VinPro information day on Thursday.
SA’s wine industry should use aspects like Fairtrade to move into middle price segments internationally, she said.
At the moment the country's wine presence abroad is like an hourglass shape, she explained, with most of the wine at the bottom price segment, just about nothing in the middle price segment and a small quantity in the top price segment.
“In order to show off SA wine, the industry needs to change its presence from this hourglass shape to that of a stepladder where one builds brands and market share on a step by step basis,” she suggested.
Another trend she said SA wine should use to its advantage is the increasing interest in SA food overseas.
“The food and wine link in restaurants overseas is a very important area for SA wine to use to get itself positioned into higher price segments. Brand building is very important,” she added.
In general, she sees especially good opportunities for SA wine to explore in higher price segments in the US and Chinese markets. In the UK, SA wines have been doing well, but they have not been growing in a sustainable way. SA wine sales have also declined in the Netherlands.