South Africa tips the Balance

31 October, 2008

South Africa has overtaken California as the Co-op's best selling country for white wine.

The Cape's whites represent 6.5% of the retailer's entire white wine sales, according to wine development manager Paul Bastard, who attributed their popularity to "good value for money". "It's not necessarily the big brands

driving sales . Our own-label and entry -level wines are phenomenal sellers," he said.

The Co-op has 23 South African white wines in its portfolio, 12 of which are

own-label, including the UK's first Fairtrade sparkling wine.

Available from this month and retailing for £7.99,

Cape Sparkling Brut is a traditional method 100% Chardonnay wine

from the Du Toitskloof co-operative in the Western Cape.

The retailer's

South African wine range represents 15.6% of its total wine sales, with strong growth of 16.3%, according to Nielsen figures for the year to Sept 6.

Ten Cape wines were on taste at the Co-op's autumn press tasting last week, including new


boxed Chardonnay and Shiraz from the Western Cape. The environmentally friendly and easily stackable boxes contain 1.5 litres of wine and retail for £8.99.

Manchester-based supplier Kingsland sa id the Balance

box is one -third lighter than the equivalent two glass bottles.

The Co-op's share of the off-trade wine market has increased in the

past year to what Bastard describes as a "record high" of 7.3%

- up from 7% a year ago. The Nielsen figures also show total wine value growth of 7%.

Bastard added that plans for

2009 include expanding the Co-op's branded Fairtrade offering and adding

an own-label Sauternes to its


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