CAPE TOWN: While commodity prices tanked and unemployment rose during South Africa’s worst ever drought over the last few months, wine making increased. What’s more, South African wine exports were up a further five percent in 2015 and the industry is expecting even more growth in 2016 as South African wine continues to find new markets around the world.
While almost every farming industry is struggling in South Africa, the wine industry is going through “one of its most exciting phases in history” according to Roland Peens, director of wine retailer Winecellar.co.za. The country is the seventh largest producer of wine in the world and for the 12 months preceding June 2015, wine production was at 959 million liters, with 423 million liters sold for export and 395 million liters sold domestically.
Not only is South Africa producing some fantastic wines, but the struggling rand is actually helping wineries as it offers a lucrative export market. The UK is by far the biggest receiver of South African wines with 109 million liters exported here. Germany is second with 79 million while Sweden, France, Netherlands and Denmark all take between 20 to 25 million litres of South African wine. Canada (18 million litres), USA (11 million liters), Belgium and China (9 million litres each) and Japan and Switzerland (6 million litres each) make up the other big export markets.