Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has reported a 5% decline in export volumes in 2022 compared to the previous year, as producers grapple with rising costs and shipping constraints.

In its 2022 Export Report, the trade body announced that a total volume of 368.8 million litres of wine was exported in 2022, some 20 million litres less than in 2021. However, export value only decreased by 2.4% in the same time period.

WOSA CEO, Siobhan Thompson said: “The recovery of exports was hampered in 2022 by various factors out of the control of our producers. During the months of April and October exports were directly impacted by the weather conditions and strike action in the port of Cape Town. Furthermore, the shortage of shipping containers as well as packaging materials, caused additional challenges.”

Thompson said that there were positives to come out of 2022, such as the success of Cape Wine Week. Additionally, the WOSA report noted a rise in bulk exports, with bulk wine accounting for 62% of total export volumes.

In terms of exports by country, the UK remained South Africa’s largest wine export market, with a 5% growth in volume in 2022 compared to 2021. Germany, the second largest export market, saw a 9% decline in volume, which the report suggested could be a result of both inflation and the “emerging culture of drinking local wines to support the local producers”.

Elsewhere, growth in China has slowed, likely due to “extreme lockdown measures imposed by the Chinese government” which has led to an overall decline in wine consumption among the population.

Looking ahead, WOSA’s Thompson has high hopes for 2023.

“For the first time in several years we are due to have a major presence at ProWein Germany in March 2023, in Hall 14, stand A70 to C80. Our producers can’t wait to hop on planes and have face-to-face meetings with importers and buyers again. We expect 2023 to be a very successful year for South African wine exports.”