South African wine producers target China
South African vintners are busy in China. In March, South African wines appeared at the “Great Wines of Southern Hemisphere 2017” trade show, which took place in the southern city of Chengdu just before China’s largest annual food and wine fair.
This month they will be participating in a series of promotions culminating in the “Discover South Africa” tasting event in Shanghai on 27 April. According to Michaela Stander, market manager for Asia at Wines of South Africa (WOSA), this will include about 20 exhibitors showcasing over 200 wines. And that’s not all.
In May, Shanghai will host SIAL China, one of the largest food exhibitions in Asia, where South African wines will woo visitors at the country’s pavilion. In October, WOSA, a non-profit established to promote South African wines in major export markets, will lead a three-city road show on the Chinese mainland and in November South African wines will once again sparkle in ProWine China, a major wine and spirit industry fair hosted annually in Shanghai. The signs are clear.
While the top five export destinations for packaged South African wine exports are still in the West – the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA – China is becoming increasingly important as an export destination.
“China is currently South Africa’s sixth largest export market for packaged wines by volume, and the largest in the Asian region, accounting for around 9.46m litres [in 2016],” says Stander. This represents 5.44% of South Africa’s total packaged exports.
If bulk exports are taken into account, then total exports to China in 2016 jumped to 15.76m litres. This means that while South Africa’s total exports (packaged and bulk wine) worldwide increased by 9.8%, worth R9bn ($688.1m), total exports to China increased by 39%, valued at R554m ($42.4m).