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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