South African wines are having a particularly good year in China, with commentators describing the country’s wines as the surprise of the year, IndependentOnline reports.
In the first half of 2015, South Africa doubled its Chinese market share from 2 percent to 4 percent in volume, Chinese customs statistics showed.
China is South Africa’s sixth-largest export market for packaged wines by volume, and the largest in Asia, accounting for around 8.99 million liters for the year ending September 2015.
South Africa’s top wine markets in 2014 were U.K., Germany, Russia, Sweden and France, MoneyWeb reports. The past 10 years have seen a marked increased in exports, up by nearly 58 percent, according to VinPro, which represents more than 3,000 wine producers and cellars.
Export wise, South Africa has extended its reach and become more popular in less traditional markets like China, MoneyWeb reports. Wines of South Africa recently opened Asian offices in Hong Kong.
Just generally, 2015 has been an exceptional year for South African wine, according to IOL. The grape harvest was early but the quality was excellent. Positive feedback from leading international wine critics including Jancis Robinson, Tim Atkin and Neal Martin, are helping to make South African wine an easy sell.
“South Africa is the most dynamic and exciting New World country at the moment,” Martin said.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is in China visiting two big international food and wine shows this week in Shanghai to explore trade, tourism and investment for South African exporters.
She’s representing 38 agribusinesses that are participating in the Food and Hotel China 2015 and ProWine China 2015 expos.
The number of wine producers is actually shrinking in South Africa, but they’re making better quality wines, MoneyWeb reports.
There were 3,314 primary wine producers in 2014, according to SA Wine Industry Information and Systems.
“The quality of the vineyard has changed dramatically over the past 10 years,” said wine critic Michael Fridjhon. “It’s more efficient…The net effect of this is that we are producing more good wine.”