SOUTH AFRICA: South African wine authority readies for structural shake-up

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The South African Wine & Spirit Exporters' Association has not only streamlined its name to Wines of South Africa - as it is known internationally - but intends redefining itself in the new year.

A general members meeting will be held in early January to ratify a change in the structure of WOSA from an export association to a Section 21 non-profit company, according to CEO Su Birch, who took over the post in May this year.

"We do not expect any major problems with this conversion. At the same time we will be restructuring the board from 12 to a maximum of 17, who will also be more representative of the entire industry.

Representation would be based on one representative for every 7.5% of export volumes, aggregated over the past two years - and could be made up of individual wineries or groups with the same goals or types of operation.

"It is not yet possible to give a break down of exactly what the composition will look like at this stage, but it will be determined by groupings of exporters, such as the estates, the private producers , non-estates, KWV and Distell - the new company formed from the merger between Distillers' Corporation and Stellenbosch Farmers Winery.

"We will also be co-opting members from beyond our ranks, people with expertise in aspects such as tourism, so that we can have a more rounded board.

"During the course of the year we opened up membership to everybody who exports, as they have to pay a levy for doing so anyway. We have asked a nominal R500 a year membership," she said.

"We intend applying to the Department of Trade and Industry for Export Council Status, which will initially benefit us through closer interaction with government and with our embassies abroad. We should also be able to leverage more assistance from the export incentive programmes for our overseas shows." Birch said.

Companies: KWV Ltd, Distell

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