South Africa wineries tap tourism with bottom-line marketing

on 24/04/11 at 11:43 am

Wine

The busload of Swedes sweep onto the 326-year-old South African wine farm for a wine tasting visit that marries vineyard tourism with bottom-line marketing.

Sweden is now the third biggest buyer of wine from South Africa, one of the countries the industry is courting to counter a tough export climate.

“At the moment it’s somewhat stable but you have to fight for every piece of pie out there. The market is tough — it’s not an easy market,” said Boschendal’s Jamiel Ryklief after welcoming the tourists to the stately estate.

First planted by 17th-century European settlers, South Africa’s vineyards add billions of rands to the economy and have made the country the world’s seventh-largest producer.

South Africa wasn’t allowed to sell its wine abroad during the international sanctions of the apartheid era, but now foreign sales make up 55 percent of production, which has tripled over the last decade.

But export volumes and earnings have slipped by around four percent since 2009, when overseas sales were valued at 7.7 billion rands ($1.1 billion, 791 million euros), said Wines of South Africa spokesman Andre Morgenthal.

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