Attempts to raise the quality profile of South African wines is starting to bear fruit with the average price of a 750ml bottle in the UK going up 5.7% to £4.75 in a market where the average for all wine dropped by 2.9% last year.

South Africa's value share of the UK retail wine market grew by 12% in 2003, which was more than twice the 5.9% value growth achieved by the market as a whole, according to AC Nielsen figures.

Wines of South Africa CEO Su Birch said South African wines had also performed robustly in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and the US.

She said SA Wine Industry and Services (SAWIS) figures showed a massive 126% increase in bottled and bag-in-box wines to Sweden making it the third largest exporter - overtaking Germany, which also registered a healthy 24% increase in export figures.