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South African exports to UK rise 23%

Exports of South African wine to the UK rose 23% by value and 7% in volume in 2020 according to the latest figures released by industry body SAWIS.

Looking at the period January-December 2020, South African wine exports to the UK enjoyed a good measure of success, especially as buyers seemed to gravitate towards higher value wines overall – to the extent that the value of packaged wines saw an increase of 28%.

The UK currently accounts for 23% of all South African wine exports by value and is proving the fastest growing of the top 10 key export markets.

Globally, South African wine saw exports increase 8% by value in 2020 with a small, 1%, downturn in volume.

Times have been tough for the South African industry lately, with the government banning exports for five weeks in early 2020, and even when they were re-allowed reduced numbers of staff at Cape Town port and bad weather made shipping slow.

The industry has also had to face up to the loss of tourism as a result of Covid-19, which has also led to the closure of the country’s on-trade and even spells of outright prohibition, including at the present time.

In a bid to support the South African wine industry there were several marketing initiatives over the course of last year including the Great British Braai Off and Spectacular South Africa campaigns – both of which proved highly successful.

Jo Wehring, UK market manager for wines of South Africa, said: “It has been heartening to see the support for the South African wine industry in the UK trade and this has now translated into a significant jump in export figures. We have seen many importers, retailers and wine commentators go above and beyond to help our industry and make UK wine drinkers aware of the quality and potential of great South African wines.

“We hope our activities, such as the #SpectacularSouthAfrica social media campaign, have helped to bring some new UK consumers into the category. We look forward to welcoming the UK trade back to South Africa as soon as possible.”

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