Wine Industry Strategic Exercise WISE

Local generic marketing, long neglected, has been identified as a key project of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise). By Edo Heyns

The Moss Group has been appointed to establish a strategy for the Brand SA initiative, which will aim to revitalise and grow the local wine market. Strategist Nicky van Hille, who has extensive liquor market experience, having worked as the head of strategy for Brandhouse, will be the principal consultant on the project.

At merely 6.97 litres, South Africa is by far the wine producing country with the lowest per capita wine consumption, bar China. The category has lost market share to ready to drink beverages and ciders, which already boast higher per capita consumption than wine. Furthermore, the per capita consumption of beer is more than eight times that of wine.

Wine accounts for a mere 8% of the total South African liquor market in terms of volume and 11.5% in terms of value. The biggest category for wine in terms of volume share price point is R20 – R40, which represents 42% of total wine sales.

Currently the South African wine industry is reaping the benefits of generic international marketing of Brand SA, through Wines of South Africa (Wosa), which is funded by export levies. However, generic marketing of wines in South Africa was identified as a priority, in order to increase market share in the domestic beverage market.

A member of the Wise Brand SA Local Marketing Strategy project, Van Loveren CEO Phillip Retief, emphasises that the time has come for more unity in the wine industry.

“Wineries are increasingly realising that the challenge is not to compete with your neighbour for wine market share, but rather to increase the market share of wine in the liquor trade by growing the wine category,” explains Retief.

Speaking about local marketing at a #RootstockSA panel discussion at Backsberg, Retief added that “if South Africa’s per capita consumption grows from seven to 10 litres per capita, we would not have wine left to sell in September,” adding that there needs to be a stronger focus on gaps and opportunities. “It’s time the wine industry plays the ball and not the man and rather tackle beer and spirits, instead of other wineries.”

While the objectives of the new local marketing structure are to be aligned with those of Wosa, the project’s ultimate aim is to develop a strategy to grow the local market and market wine as a lifestyle choice. Existing and new consumer groups will be targeted.

VinPro managing director Rico Basson will give an update on the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise at the Nedbank VinPro Information Day on 22 January.

The South African wine industry is in the process of developing a new strategic framework aimed at improving competitiveness and coherence through, inter alia, more focused communication and an industry-wide governance structure.


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