The UK offers the greatest potential for South African wine over £10 according to the chairman of PIWOSA, Rollo Gabb.
PIWOSA comprises 15 “premium” South African producers
“The opportunity must be in the UK for premium South African wine,” stated Gabb, in a discussion with the drinks business this morning about the opportunities for his organisation.
Gabb heads the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa, which was founded in October 2012 to group together 15 producers to jointly promote South African wine over £10.
Despite an overall stagnation in wines sales in the UK, Gabb stressed that South Africa “should never forget the UK”, although he added that it was important that producers also develop new markets.
PIWOSA will target the UK, as well as Sweden, Canada and the USA over the next two years, with Gabb emphasising that all 15 members of the organisation “agreed that the UK was the most ready for what we needed to do”.
Gabb believes that “premium” South African wine is currently underrepresented in the UK market, despite its quality and stylistic suitability for the market.
“There are few listings for South Africa over £10 and the wines are perfect for the UK palate,” he said.
Gabb, who is managing director of Journey’s End Wine Estate in South Africa, said that for his own business, he was also focusing on the UK.
“Out of all the countries, the UK is best placed to accept premium South African wine, so I’ve changed my strategy: I have spent a lot of time on the US and Hong Kong, but now I’m focused on the UK,” he said.
Further explaining his decision, Gabb added, “With the US or Hong Kong, you can spend an enormous amount of time and money, and then sell just 100 cases – there is so much information you need to convey to get the message across about premium South African wine.”
On the other hand, he said that UK drinkers were already well acquainted with South African wine.
“Probably 20 million cases of South African wine are sold in the UK, and less than 1m in the US,” he also pointed out.
Summing up he said, “We are just focusing on the UK, because it is a tried and tested market, a key market globally, an international market, and it’s not flooded with domestically produced wine, yet – and it is a very open and fair market.
“And, because we are on the coast, I think we are stylistically suited to the UK,” he concluded.
PIWOSA are holding a “Flying Rhino” tasting in London this year which takes place at the Kensington Roof Gardens on Wednesday 21 May from 2.30pm until 6pm (with drinks, Braai and party from 6pm until midnight).
Click here to find out more about the tasting and register attendance.