At 27-24° latitude in the Southern Hemisphere, the South African winelands are planted in ancient soils across dramatic mountains ranges of the Cape Floral Kingdom world heritage site. Traditionally within 50 kilometres of the coast, ideal maritime conditions are created by Atlantic and Indian Ocean influences. The geography and Mediterranean climate create a diversity of wine styles.
There are 275,600 people employed in the south african wine industry
First planted in 1655, today there are more than 600 wine producers and over 101,000 hectares of vines, over 800 kilometres. The focus is on noble varieties, superior plant material, terroir, site specificity and expression in flavour.
The Wine of Origin scheme delimits wine production zones into regions, districts and wards. Breed River Valley, Coastal, Klein Karoo and Olifants River are the four main regions, with Capetown, Stellenbosch and Paarl well-recognised districts within the Coastal region.
White varieties dominate with 56% of total vineyard plantings, of which Chenin accounts for 18.6%. Reds represent 44%, with Cabernet Sauvignon the most planted variety at 12.2%. Shiraz accounts for 10%, Merlot 6.4%, and the indigenous Pinotage, 6.2%.
Pinotage is a typical red grape variety of South Africa, created from pinot noir and cinsault
Wines of South Africa Structure
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a not-for-profit and fully-independent organisation established in 1999 to represent all South African wines that are exported. The mission is to promote and maintain the image of South African wines internationally. WOSA is funded by a levy per litre on each bottle of sparkling and still wine exported. “If your wine is exported, you are represented by WOSA” explains Communications Director André Morgenthal.
There are currently five hundred producers working in the key international export markets of which the UK is the most traditional, followed by Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, theUSA, Canada, Russia and Asia. The WOSA head office is based in Stellenbosch and led by CEO Su Birch. There is a WOSA office in London, with another opening in the USA in 2012. Marketing managers work from agencies in America, Canada, Africa, UK and countries including Russia, Switzerland and Scandanavia. In emerging markets WOSA works with the South African consulates in India, Japan and China.
There are 275,600 people employed in the South African wine industry, backed by state body the Nietvoorbij Institute for Viticulture and Oenology, the University of Stellenbosch, and the Elsenburg Agricultural College.
Domestic and Export Consumption
South Africa produces 3.0% of the world's wine and ranks as number seven in overall volume production (2010).
The modern South African wine industry is only one decade old. Exports are increasing rapidly, up 210% between 1998 and 2010.
With total exports of South African wine at 222.3 million litres in 2010, André Morgenthal remarked that “we have just crossed the point where export demand has reached over 50%, passing domestic demand which remains stable.” The UK is WOSA's biggest market (28%), followed by Germany (19%), Sweden (10%) and the Netherlands (7%).
Total exports of south african wine reached 222.3 million litres in 2010
The mission of WOSA is “to promote the value growth for the South African wine industry abroad.” WOSA is present at major international wine trade fairs ProWein in Germany, LIWF in London, and Vinordi, in Sweden. At Prowein WOSA has joined four other New World wine producing countries in the Down2Earth initiative, teaming up with Argentina, Chile, USA and New Zealand.
WOSA presents Cape Wine Europe in London each year, participates in food and wine festivals in Europe, and hosts WOSA Wine Workshops throughout the world. The domestic biennial trade exhibition Cape Wine is a showcase of the South African wine industry presented by WOSA, and described as “the most successful international wine trade show in the Southern hemisphere, and probably the most enjoyable wine show in the world.”
Capetown is a Member of the Wine Capitals of the World wine tourism network.
An alliance between WOSA, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI), Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), and the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB) has culminated in Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA). An export license must be granted to each wine for export, analysed at the WSB, resulting in a traceable seal verifying Wine of Origin, vintage and grape variety.
WOSA supports the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA), which is a world-first initative to promote ethical standards. The Fairtrade Label South Africa was established in 2008 and signed with the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) in 2009.
During the FIFA World Cup, the wine brand Fundi was created with the South African wine industry, donating 100% of sales to train 2010 disadvantaged South Africans as wine stewards in 2010.
The modern sout african wine industry is only one decade old
WOSA in China
André Morgenthal says that WOSA is “really active in Asia, attending both international and local shows”, and the organisation aims to appoint a WOSA representative permanently in China. In 2010, China (including Hong Kong) accounted for 35% of WOSA's Asia-Pacific wine market value, with Japan representing 22.5%. Morgenthal comments that “the greatest competitors in China are France, Chile and Australia”.
The Wosa head office is based in Stellenbosch, one of south africa's most famous vineyards
In May 2011, WOSA hosted a seminar for local wine producers in Stellenbosch. Special guest Debra Meiburg MW said: "Now is the time for South African producers to enter the market as there is enormous growth potential for mid-priced wines." Meiburg added that “although French wines enjoy the strongest support, there is a rising curiosity about other wine-producing countries on which South Africa can capitalize … Don`t let low-end wines drive South Africa`s entry into China. Bring your high-profile, `rock star` cult winemakers to the country and let them seed a reputation of excellence."