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SOUTH AFRICA: Producers told to show "united front" to succeed in UK

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South African producers are being urged to produce a coherent industry led strategy to attack the UK market.

Speaking at a marketing seminar for South Africa's wines yesterday Mike Paul, MD of Western Wines, owner of Kumala, South Africa's largest export brand and the sixth biggest retailed in the UK, said: "The UK trade is highly receptive to new wines and actively seeks points of difference to generate ongoing interest among consumers in this fiercely competitive market. Whereas California is more focused on its domestic markets than it is on the UK, and Chile and Argentina do not enjoy close historic and cultural links with Britain, South Africa is in an ideal position to maximise its advantages."
 
However he warned that this was only provided a "a coherent industry-led strategy is developed to address the UK market."

He urged the local industry to learn from the success of the Australian wine industry that now ranks the second largest supplier to the UK, after France. He said the first step in building the value of its wine exports to the UK would be to develop and communicate a strategy based on sound market research, while projecting a decisive sense of unity among producers.

"Although the Australian producers are perceived as working in close concert to promote Australian wines of origin, this is not always the case. Nevertheless, they present a united front to outsiders." 

Last year, Cape wine exports to the UK passed the 75m litre mark, reflecting a growth in volume of 30% on the previous year. Provisional figures for July and August 2002 indicated that sales had far exceeded forecasts and that a 25% growth on the 2001 figures was expected for the year.

Paul said producers must treat wine as a business and start taking control of the destiny of their products, and not abdicate the responsibility of marketing, sales and distribution. 


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