South Africa has moved up a place in the table of UK off-trade wine sales, according to recent figures. Mike Paul, chairman of the Wines of South Africa's UK Importers Committee said yesterday that the country had leapfrogged Italy into fourth place.

The value of South African wines in the UK off-trade rose year-on-year to August from 9.4% to 10.1%. Italy fell back by 0.1% to 10%.

Volume-wise, however, South Africa remained in fourth place, growing from 9.7% to 10.2%. Italy's volumes fell from 11.7% last year to 11.2% this year, while the US rose from 10.7% to 13.1%. Australia remained top, moving up from 20.2% to 20.5%.

South Africa's aim of topping 500,000 cases of wine a year - at over £5 a bottle - by 2005 had been met by June this year having climbed from 200,000 in 2003 and only 154,000 cases in 2002, Paul said.