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UK’s South African wine exports leap 20% in 2021

The UK, South Africa’s leading export market, saw a jump in exports of 20% by value during 2021, despite challenges caused by the pandemic.

The UK, the largest long-term export market for South African wine, currently accounts for 25% of all exports by value.

The market also increased by 12% in terms of volume, with an increase of 25% by value for packaged wines to the UK.

Following the tough trading conditions in 2020, interruptions to international tourism, further local alcohol sales bans, global freight and local port issues along with a shortage of glass and packaging materials all created challenges for South Africa’s wine producers in 2021.

According to Vinpro, South Africa’s industry oversight body, national alcohol bans have collectively put more than 21,000 wine jobs at risk and have cost the government more than 5 billion rand (US$340m) in tax revenue. It’s thought that at least 75,000 tourism and hospitality jobs were lost in 2020 in the Western Cape, due to travel bans and lockdowns.

Total exports to traditional markets including Germany, The Netherlands and Russia were down -1%, -10% and -12%  by value respectively.

Despite these drawbacks,South Africa saw an increase in global exports of 12% by value and 22% by volume.

China, African countries, USA and Canada were among the strong performing export markets for South African wine outside the UK.

In China the trade issues with Australia allowed South Africa to double its market share, due to the availability of quality packaged and bulk wines

Export volumes exceeded pre-Covid levels in African markets, driven by Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Bulk wine exports have boosted both the USA and Canadian markets, where South Africa has performed well. For the USA, Gomberg-Fredrikson data confirmed the growth of South African wines in the USA with imports of packaged wines up 18% over the previous year. South Africa was the only new world country to see positive growth in this period.

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