South African wine group Distell is predicting that the South African wine industry could face wine shortages within five years as total exports, which increased 12% to a record 405m litres in 2008, outstrip the ability of vineyards to supply the wine.
Merwe Botha, Distell’s financial director at Distell told Decanter: “We need to look at the demand and supply situation. There are signs that in the next five years the industry could face shortages in supply.”
“Producers have been under severe pressure because of margin and cash flow problems so they have not planted as much as they should have,” the wine publication quoted him.
The total are under vine in South Africa has been fairly static since 2005 and current stands around 100,000ha. Wines of South Africa believe that there is potential for another 40,000ha.
I agree that long term, given current vineyard plantings, we are going to struggle to supply enough wine. But, the question is not just how much is sold but also in what form it is sold. The biggest increase has been in bulk export which is not as good as selling wine in the bottle.
Currently only 30% of the total wine production is sold in the bottle. Besides whether we have enough wine we need to asking questions about why we aren’t selling more wine in bottles.