A couple of days ago I blogged on a Business Day article quoting, amongst others, WOSA’s CEO Su Birch saying that the local South African market was looking up.
Wine writer Neil Pendock disagrees in his recent blog post saying:
“Also unusual was WOSA getting involved in the local market, with Su claiming ‘we might see local growth this year as the economy continues to recover.’ A view probably not shared by many retailers or restaurateurs, with a major producer holding an emergency conference at the end of last year to address the dire state of the local market.
“The problem of sluggish local fine wine sales is largely a structural one: over the last decade there has been massive emigration from the (mainly white) middle class who are fine wine’s main consumers while black people continue to drink beer and spirits.”
Neil also takes WOSA to task for what he describes as mixed messages on the international market referring to the pessimistic view in the Business Day article and a far more optimistic one in the weekly WOSA newsletter which stated “We exported an additional 12-million litres of packaged wine this past year to countries other than the UK. So there is progress on many fronts.”
From my perspective the market remains tough but there are opportunities for those vintners willing to seek and explore new opportunities and investing in their brand strategy and marketing as much as in the quality of their wines.