In reflecting a 20% growth in value, South Africa outstripped all but one of its New World Wine competitors in the UK last year. Argentina, operating from a lower base recorded a 28% growth in value.

South Africa's value share of the UK market rose from 3.5% in 1999 to 4.5% in 2000, according to Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa, today.

Quoting UK Customs and Excise figures, she said South Africa's volume share had grown to 6% in 2000 from 5.2% in 1999. But, she added it was vital that average per litre retail prices were increased as part of a strategy to improve return to producers. During the first two months of this year, selling prices had averaged just below £4 for a 75cl bottle. Although this was higher than in previous months, it was still £0.66 down on Australian wines.

She said two major initiatives were in the pipeline. In September and October, 30 wineries would participate in an 18-day whistle-stop tour to six countries, starting in New York and ending with a two-day generic tasting in London on 2 and 3 October.

WOSA is also planning its second bi-annual trade show at Nederburg in Paarl next April. Burch said they were aiming high, but wanted to attract 500 quality delegates to the 4-day Cape Wine 2002 event.

Wines & Spirits in South Africa