An insiders view from London

Jeanine Wardman talks to Jo Mason, Wines of South Africa UK Market Manager, about the growth potential for South African wines in the UK. Here’s a sample:

What frustrates you about the South African wine industry?

When a generic image is at stake, an industry has to present a united front – and a positive one. If this methodology is applied consistently a positive perception in the trade and eventually among consumers becomes the norm. South Africans are honest and outspoken, which is wonderful, but we need to be careful about being seen as disparate and fragmented. There is never a situation where everyone agrees, in any country’s generic message, but it’s vital to be seen to be working together.

What is the single most current facet of the wine business of collective importance to the South African wine industry?

Green credentials. And what it means for wine packaging. The debate is heating up by the day here in the UK wine media. With the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco, putting carbon emissions top of its corporate agenda it is a subject that will be addressed by everyone.

Fair Trade or Biodiversity?

Biodiversity, without a doubt. Fair Trade is a global brand and resonates with many other wine settings. Biodiversity is 100% pure South African.

South Africa is…

… well placed to make a good recovery in the UK market: investment in brands is evident (and extremely necessary); the Cape winelands have some of the best tourism infrastructure in the world and UK consumers are travelling to South Africa in droves; the industry’s conservation initiatives are timely, as consumers are increasingly interested in ethical purchasing; finally, we have great wines and an impending football event that will throw South Africa into the spotlight.

Read the full interview…