October 8th, 2010
03:46 PM GMT
I couldn't help it! But I just had to do another story about South Africa's wine industry. As someone said to me on twitter recently, I am starting to sound like I cover the "wine beat," which doesn't sound like a bad thing to me!
Besides the quaffing benefits, I also think South Africa's wine industry is an important business story that perhaps doesn't get enough attention, what with all the calls for nationalizing mines and public service strikes.
Many South Africans seem to forget the wine industry is a major contributor to the GDP and provides direct employment to more than 250,000 people.
Even though there are huge opportunities for the industry to grow, South Africa's wine makers are struggling. There are a number of reasons for the hangover.
Locally, more South Africans drink beer or whisky than wine. Internationally, the strong SA currency means wine farmers are getting less for their wines in overseas markets.
Wine consultants, like Emile Joubert, are also critical of industry bodies who insist on trying to market South African wines to the United Kingdom, which is over-saturated with cheap, good wines from all over the world.
So, he says, the English supermarkets and wine buyers are "Killing us for price. We are selling wine cheaper there than what it takes farmers here to produce it."
It begs the question why South African wine producers don't look to sell their delicious wine to China, India and, more importantly, the rest of Africa?
So my question is: do you think South Africa's wine industry has missed opportunities to market its product globally?
All of you fellow Africans out there - do you buy Portuguese, Italian or French wines rather than South African wines? Are enough premium South African wines even sold in your countries?
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