Wines of South Africa, a non-profit organisation responsible for the promotion of South African wines, has reported that South African wine exporters are to begin targeting east Asian markets as a key to future growth.

The recent move will build on the industry's existing successful penetration of the European markets coupled with the signing of the wine and spirits agreement between South Africa and the EU.

According Su Birch, chief executive of Wines of SA, the country's wines have managed to gain an increase in volume and market share in all the major export markets over the past two years.

South African wine producers seeking new market opportunities have already participated in various wine exhibitions in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, where they have especially been targeting the most likely competitors for the Asian market - Australia and Chile.

Birch added that despite Australia's relative proximity to the market, consumers and retailers would make their choices based on quality, price and brand awareness.