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Mike Ratcliffe Wines of South Africa

This show was published 31 August 2007


Mike Ratcliffe is a director of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) and managing director of Warwick Estate. Mike talks to us about future plans for South African wines.

South African wines have gone from strength to strength since the European market opened up in 1994. In 1992 production was at 22 million litres and by 2005 had grown to 282 million litres. Oddbins were key to driving growth in the UK. In 2006 vs 2005 there was a slight reduction in volume but an increase in avg spend and value. 2006 saw a massive step up in terms of 'Brand South Africa'. South Africa wines are in the top 3 of imports into Holland, Germany & Skandinavia. In the UK they are targeting the £5 average price point, to go more premium and they have been successful in driving on trade consumption and will continue this focus.

With European markets fairly mature, WOSA is targeting the United States as a new international market to develop. They will be focusing on each individual state starting with the East Coast from Boston to Washington DC. There are only 35 out of 52 states that you can actually sell wine into. The goal is to open a generic marketing office in the States, perhaps in partnership with other South African industries e.g. the South African tourist office, ministry of agriculture, DeBeers diamonds.

South Africa is attracting foreign investors with big investment from Constellation and Gallo who have launched international brands. This is partly driven by the price of land - South Africa is still affordable when compared with land in California.


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