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Wine News

Tough times for South African wine market as biggest export market drops

The South African wine industry is the world's seventh largest and accounts for 3% of world production - but it has suffered a blow recently with sales dropping to its' largest export market - the UK.

Wine exports to the UK were down 15% from December 2009 to November 2010 and sales by value were down by 7%. But South Africa just can't compete with cheap wines in the UK. Packaged wines, in particular, have slumped, with sales dropping 19% over the past seven years. New EU tariffs are not going to help their cause either, with their wines attracting tariffs ranging from 8.5% to 24%.

All is not lost though - local South African wine exporters are now focusing on less-established markets such as the US and China. US wine sales are on the up, though it's a tough market to crack and China is a long-term project, because of cultural differences, but exports were up 76% last year.