South African wineries plan to explore huge Chinese market
A Manor House winery in Cape Town, South Africa Photo: Zou Song/GT
“As a rapidly growing market, China cannot be overlooked by any winery,” Henriëtte Jacobs, Spier Wine Farm’s international sales director, told the Global Times, adding that the company’s exports to China have grown. continued to grow exponentially over the past few years, and the Chinese market has become one of the company’s most important strategic markets.
Jacobs’ remark speaks for several wineries in South Africa, which have adopted various strategies and tactics in an effort to gain a share of the emerging Chinese market.
For example, Spier has taken several approaches specifically targeting Chinese consumers, such as designing easy-to-open canned wines to appeal to young Chinese people, creating wine labels based on Chinese zodiac signs, opening its official account on WeChat, China’s largest social media platform, and deploy employees to promote wine products in China.
Australian wine exports fell 95% at the end of 2020 after China imposed anti-dumping measures on the country’s wine exports, which caused Australia to lose its leading position for wine imports in the world. huge Chinese market. Industry insiders noted that this could be a potential opportunity for South African wines.
“Honestly speaking, every wine-producing region and country wants to get a growing slice of the Chinese wine market pie, but a stable bilateral relationship is a prerequisite and fundamental guarantee that South Africa has an advantage,” Marcus Ford, Asia Market Director of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), told the Global Times.
Ford added that China and South Africa are important economies in Asia and Africa with very warm trade relations, while the quality of South African wine enjoys an acclaimed reputation in the Chinese market. He hopes that more Chinese consumers will be able to enjoy the unique and high-quality South African wine in the future.
Ford noted that although the market share of South African wine in China is still relatively small at just one percent, sales have increased 10-fold over the past decade and the development of bilateral trade from wine has steadily accelerated over the past six months. . “We are more confident for the future,” he said.
China’s wine imports in 2021 by country Graph: GT
Ford pointed out that Chinese consumers are becoming more wine-savvy and that the Chinese wine market is set to become more open and more diverse, so the outlook for South African wine in China are promising.
“The good bilateral relations between China and South Africa are an important basis for promoting their economic and trade cooperation and partnership, and I believe that the close ties between the two countries will be reflected at the people level,” he said. Ford, hoping that South African wines will become a new link to connect the people of the two countries.
Spier is one of many South African wineries that are optimistic about the potential of the Chinese market. Jacobs stressed the importance of branding South African wine to Chinese consumers to capture “the Chinese appetite”, especially as local consumer tastes vary.
A Spier winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa Photo: Zou Song/GT
Therefore, Spier has prioritized promoting the concept of history and environmental protection in its marketing strategy. While emphasizing its heritage of South African winemaking history for hundreds of years, the company now takes care of recycling 100% of wastewater and 96% of solid waste.
Aiming to promote sustainable regional development, South Africa introduced the first “certified integrity and sustainability” label to the global wine industry in 2010. The label, placed on the neck of wine bottles, means that 100 percent of the grapes used in the wine- Manufacture come from the region indicated on the packaging and are packaged in South Africa, while approximately 85 percent or more of the grapes are guaranteed to be of the same type and quality. same year.
It is not easy for local wineries to obtain the label, as wineries must meet multiple requirements such as reducing fertilizer use and protecting workers’ rights in order to qualify for the certification.
Canned wine from Spier, which is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. Photo: Zou Song/GT
Jacobs said Chinese wine consumers are increasingly sophisticated, adding that Spier has taken strategic approaches to appeal to Chinese consumers.
For example, several canned wine products have been well received in the Chinese market, because the small and portable wine products are easy to carry, which is preferred by young consumers.
Additionally, Jacobs said Spier considered launching a new Chinese New Year wine label, focusing on the year’s zodiac sign. Although the plan was ultimately not implemented, cautious consumers can still find Chinese cultural symbols on the brand’s traditional white label, which balances Spier’s aesthetic and Chinese elements.
Ford said the South African wine industry and distributors should pay attention to the fact that China leads the world in terms of internet marketing and logistics development, according to a report by WOSA. Meanwhile, home wine drinking may become a new consumer trend in the post-pandemic period, so South African wine brands should strive to create a convenient marketing model to bring the products from South African wineries to the kitchen tables of Chinese consumers.
A vineyard in South Africa Photo: Zou Song/GT