WOSA opens HK office

Wines of South Africa is taking its Asian operations “to the next level” with the opening of a dedicated office in Hong Kong said market manager Michaela Stander.

wosaSpeaking to the drinks business, Stander explained that after “good growth in recent years” and with “quite a few brands represented” the time had come to increase South Africa’s presence in the region and open an office.

Figures from South Africa’s Wine Industry & Information Systems show that in the 12 months to September 2014, year-on-year sales volumes of bottled wines in China went up 5% and to Japan by 14%.

The office will be responsible for the whole of Asia and as well as allowing South African producers to “engage with trade and consumers”, Stander also stressed that it was an opportunity for the trade body to educate the producers themselves about the Asian market.

Although the focus for the office will be the wider region, Stander explained that Hong Kong was chosen as the ultimate location as it remains Asia’s “shop window”.

Stander continued that, just as the offices in the UK and US, the new WOSA office would be working to educate the market (building on programmes already in place in Japan, China and Hong Kong), partner with the on- and off-trades on dinners, promotions and offering wines by the glass and continuing its sommelier competition in Asia.

WOSA will be participating at next week’s HKTDC fair in Hong Kong from 6-8 November and ProWein China from 12-14 November.

Stander has been working for WOSA on Asia since 2008 but has always done so from South Africa, travelling to the region as required.

WOSA CEO Siobhan Thompson said of her: “Michaela is a highly experienced wine marketer. Her conversancy with Asia and many of its cultural dynamics, her familiarity with Japanese and her well-established networks with trade customers, sommeliers and wine educators are an asset to WOSA.”

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