South Africa almost doubled the amount of wines it sold for more than £5 in the UK last year, moving 291,000 cases in 2003 compared with 154,000 the previous year.

This was part of a strategy by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), driven by its UK importers committee, to reach a target of 500,000 cases a year by the end of 2005.

Mike Paul, MD of Western Wines and a member of the committee, talking ahead of the Cape Wine 2004 show, said the £5+ category had developed from 5.7m cases in 2001 to 7.6m cases in 2003, which meant South Africa had an opportunity to get a bigger bite of this growing segment.

South Africa also intended achieving a 13.5% value share of the entire market by the end of next year, as well as fight for an average retail price of £4.16 per bottle.

South African wine exporters will get a £10m CCT tax rebate, as part of an EU agreement, which they intended using to grow their share of the UK market.

Paul said the first adventurous marketing drive by WOSA late last year to get all major supermarket chains to help promote the £5 plus promotion had met with mixed success.

Some chains did implement the strategy, but he declined to name and shame, saying it was a bold initiative, which may have needed a bit more time to develop.