Despite a raft of challenges – from a series of local alcohol sales bans to global freight and localised port issues - wine export volumes staged a welcome recovery last year, recording a volume of 388 million litres, while the total value of exports grew to R10.2 billion.
“This figure is most positive when compared to 2018 exports where a total volume of 420 million litres fetched only R9.1 billion,” said Wines of South Africa (WoSA) CEO Siobhan Thompson.
The UK, South Africa’s largest wine export market, showed good growth in both volume (+10%) and value (+25%) of packaged wine, despite earlier fears about a negative impact brought on by Brexit and the Covid pandemic.
This growth was mainly seen in the independent and specialist wine sector as well as in high-end multiple grocers.
“The UK market has been very supportive of South Africa’s wine industry during one of the toughest times it has ever faced and this can be seen in the growth of our exports,” said Thompson.
“China has been a buzzword within wine circles over the past year due to the Chinese trade war with Australia, and has presented increased opportunities for South African packaged and bulk wine due to the availability of quality wines which has allowed us to more than double our market share.
With packaged wine exports, we have seen a large increase in listings of SA wines in major retailers, with a number of national importers who have also expanded their portfolios to include South African wine.”
African markets also showed significant recovery in 2021, with export volumes exceeding pre-Covid levels. Markets driving this growth are Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Further market insights show that this will continue in the future as the market expands.
“The European focus markets of Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden remain largely stable, which is positive, despite harsh lockdown measures in all of these countries, which had a direct impact on trading conditions,” she added.
Both North American markets of Canada and the USA have also shown volume growth. This has mainly been driven by bulk wine exports, however in these traditionally challenging markets and given the impact of the pandemic, this is considered to be positive on the whole. Gomberg-Fredrikson** data confirms the growth of South African wines in the USA; in fact, in 2021 South Africa was the only New World country to see positive numbers, with imports of packaged SA wine up 18% over the previous year.
Packaged wine exports, which are pivotal in growing South African’s quality image, were impacted heavily by packaging supply issues, but ultimately managed to show good recovery and grew by 6.7% in volume and 9.2% in value.
The organisation will stage a CapeWine expo from October 5-7, themed “Sustainability 360”.
**Data for period from January to October 2021.