Exports Nose-Dive

Sure, now,we can feel it. But isn’t what,we’d thought we’d feel in the wake of 2010, South Africa’s magical year. Local wine exports have taken a pounding and nowhere were we hit harder than in the UK, by far the largest importer of Brand South Africa and the traditional home for the industry’s generic marketing activities.

SAWIS figures show that during the period from January to September 2010 exports of bottled wine to the UK fell from 60,748,371 litres for the same period in 2009 to 44,613,463 in 2010. This massive decline was almost echoed by the figures for bag-in-box ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ 53,520,266 litres in 2010 opposed to last year’s 70,532,818 litres.

An industry insider told winegoggle that the figures for the last three months of 2010 are going to show even more dismal reading.

“The value chain is being further eroded by the growing trend among wineries to export wine in bulk for bottling in Europe. This is a worrying indication that attempts to steer the South African wine industry away from a cheap-and-cheerful image are not working,” he says.

A glass ball to determine the correct strategy would help. But growing the local market and heading East seem to be already written in the stars. For the rest of the industry, a new harvest looms leaving one to wonder what is happening to all the un-exported wine lying around in cellars waiting for better days and a friendlier exchange rate.

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