Distell has raised its packaged wine exports by 18% for the year ending 31 March, figures in stark contrast to a stagnant South African wine industry.

Don Gallow, Distell's international director said today (17 May) that bulk exports for the industry had jumped by 24% as exporters tried to curtail supply chain costs in an increasingly competitive market.

He said that while the UK and Netherlands were the two leading markets for South African wines, Distell was operating over a far wider base.

"We are seeing strong growth in Germany and Scandinavia and at the same time North America is making a major contribution to export sales."

Gallow said the fidelity of brand equity, a solid distribution and geographical reach were what maintained Distell while navigating global oversupply.

In the US, Distell was most active above US$7, a segment that grew by 13% last year according to Gallow.

Brown-Forman represents Distell's Durbanville Hills brand in the US and UK. Sales of this brand more than trebled in the year to March.