KENYA – A burgeoning and well-informed wine market in Kenya is driving new, with industry players noting a steady growth in the wine culture particularly among the expanding middle class, the Star reports.  

The dominance of South African and French brands in the local and regional market has now prompted Italian wineries to set their sights on Kenya, aiming to popularize and grow the Italian wine and food culture in East Africa. 

Wine Expert & Sommelier Victoria Munywoki emphasized the steady growth of the wine industry in Kenya, attributing it to the widening middle class and their increasing appreciation for wine.  

The Italian Embassy in Kenya, the Italian Trade Commission, and the promoter of Italian food and wine, Gambero Rosso, have announced the entry of 36 Italian producers into the Kenyan market. These producers will showcase over 150 wine varieties to local wine traders, importers, and restaurateurs. 

“Having 36 producers coming to Kenya for an excellent wine showcase like this is a great opportunity for the trade community and such importers and wholesalers, especially noting that only a few Italian wines are popularly known and understood locally,” added Munywoki. 

Recent years have witnessed a growing demand for wine in Kenya, with the market predominantly dominated by French and South African brands.  

According to a source quoted by the Star, an estimated 30 million liters of wine were sold in Kenya, indicating significant potential for growth in the Italian wine segment. Kenya’s wine market is projected to generate a revenue of US$86.7 million (Sh14.1 billion) in 2024, with the volume expected to reach 10.4 million liters by 2028. 

Munywoki noted a shift in consumer preferences, stating, “Kenyans are increasingly demanding better quality and better-rated premium wines, as opposed to the basic ones that have historically been served in most establishments.” 

 She observed a trend towards drier styles of wine and an increasing preference for single varieties. “Italian Rose is getting a lot of attention, especially among men, and we are seeing a lot of acceptance of Italian wines, particularly the red wines, which are consumed more than the white wine in Kenya,” added Munywoki. 

However, she also highlighted the impact of taxation on the industry, pointing out the need for a business-friendly and favorable taxation regime in Kenya.  

Munywoki emphasized that while the government has the right to raise revenue through taxation, the high taxation in Kenya influences the cost of goods, affecting affordability for consumers. 

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