Cape Wine show reveals call to push £7-plus barrier in UK

South Africa offers quality but consumers need to be convinced to trade up

Retailers have praised a "step change" in South Africa n wines above £7, but they

urged that more must be done to encourage the consumer to pay


Buyers visiting the bi ennial Cape Wine show in Cape Town last week praised producers' efforts,


allowed them to deliver beyond the entry level.

Helen McEvoy, buyer for Direct Wines , said: "More effort seems to be being made in the vineyards than before. Many wineries are reducing yields and getting a higher -quality crop . There is a growing awareness of vineyard location and the suitability of sites for different grapes.

"For me, the price point that South Africa seems to be succeeding at is £7-£10. At this level, the wines

compete well on a global stage. The challenge now for South Africa is to pass

this message on to its consumers and encourage spending at this price bracket," she said.

Claire Graham, an Oddbins

buyer, agreed that while the quality was there, convincing the consumer to trade upwards of £7 was a hard sell .

She said: "There is definitely some very good stuff below £10, where there used to be a real gap. Suppliers could be doing more. Our wine fairs are good because they give suppliers access to customers as well as

staff. Store staff need to get to see what's new and coming through."

According to the latest

Nielsen figures, the South African category is up 13% (

Aug 9 2008) to £398 million, though only 14% of its wines are sold over £5, compared to 27.5% for the rest of the category. Average bottle price has

remained sta tic.

Wines of South Africa's UK market manager, Jo Mason, said: "We have been growing consistently above the £5 bracket for some time, but it's a small part of our category. We are enthusing merchants to get more excited about it at a higher level but at the moment, a lot of the growth has been driven by the supermarkets. Ideally, we want to succeed in both."