South Africa is the seventh top wine producer worldwide, Saul Kgomotso Molobi, Consul-General of South Africa to Milan has said. The country produces 4.2% of the world's wine.
Mr Molobi made the remarks at the South African wine tasting event in Milan hosted by Guido Invernizzi of the Italian Association of Sommeliers and Afriwines (an importer of South African wines into Italy).
Mr Molobi said that currently 99,680 hectares of vines producing wine grapes are under cultivation in South Africa over an area of some 800 kilometres in length.
The South African Wine Industry employs 300,000 people both directly and indirectly, including farm labourers, those involved in packaging, retailing and wine tourism.
Growth in contribution to the GDP has been at least 10% per annum since 2003.
Global exports of South African wines have grown from 50-million litres a year in 1994 to 500-million litres a year in 2014.
In 2014, 303 million litres of wine were exported to the EU of which 62% was shipped in bulk. The EU is South Africa’s biggest export market and accounted for 72% of exports in 2014. Italy imported about 6.2 million litres of packaged and bulk wine from South Africa and in volume is the 10th market for the country.
Observing that South Africa exports more bulk than bottled wine, Mr Molobi said a new campaign had been launched aimed to see more bottled wines exported from South Africa in a bid to raise the country’s reputation as a premium producer.
The bottling campaign comes in the wake of the recently negotiated Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that takes effect next year.
From this year, the country’s duty free quotas of bottled wines exported to the EU will more than double from the present 48 million litres to 110 million litres.
Eighty-four million litres of current production would be eligible for duty free exemption. To take full advantage of next year’s raised duty-free quota the industry would need to increase its bottled output to the EU by another 26 million litres.