SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa experienced a notable decline in wine exports, with a 17% drop to 306 million liters in 2023, according to a recent report by industry body Wines of South Africa (WoSA). 

The report highlighted that total exports by value also plunged 11% to 540 million U.S. dollars last year, although the depreciation of the country’s currency led to a nearly 1% increase in export value in rand terms to 10 billion rand (US$529.91M). 

In comparison, the total volume of wine exports in 2022 stood at 368 million liters, generating 9.9 billion rand (US$524.61M) in revenue.  

WoSA attributed the decrease to excessive stock levels across global wine-producing countries, affecting prices overall. The report mentioned that production volumes in South Africa declined by 14% in 2023. 

“This can especially be seen at the lower- and entry-level segment of the wine markets where trading is particularly competitive and pricing within this commodity sector leading to a ripple effect throughout the value chain,” stated the report. 

Despite the challenges, South African wines continue to impress globally, earning positive recognition from industry critics.  

WoSA CEO Siobhan Thompson highlighted the focus on quality and consistency in South African wines, stating, “The consistent positive ratings and accolades achieved by South African wines have most certainly solidified our positioning in international markets.” 

Thompson expressed confidence in the continued upward trajectory of South African wines, emphasizing viticultural improvements and the adoption of new technologies in vineyards and cellars. 

According to the report, the most popular white wines exported from South Africa in 2023 were Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay, while the best-selling red wines included Shiraz, Pinotage, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

In terms of export markets, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands emerged as the top three countries by value, constituting a combined 45% of the total. The report also highlighted the positive impact of wine tourism in South Africa, providing a boost to growth, particularly benefiting small and medium-sized entities. 

However, the report acknowledged localized challenges faced by South African wine producers, including infrastructure and equipment issues at the Port of Cape Town, which significantly impacted all products and commodities. 

South Africa ranks eighth in wine production out of the top 10 traditional wine-producing countries globally. The country has six wine regions, predominantly situated in the Western Cape province. Paarl is the largest town in the Cape Winelands and has almost 14,300 hectares dedicated to wine grape vineyards. 

According to Statista, the volume of the wine market in South Africa is estimated to reach 308.8m L by 2028. Furthermore, the market is projected to exhibit a volume growth of 4.6% in 2025. 

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