Bumped into Washington DC-based wine educator Don Winkler at The Nose Wine Bar yesterday and was introduced to his excellent blog. The Nose is running a special on John Laubser’s Green Man bubbly for R250 a bottle and Don remarked “I’ve really been impressed with the quality of South African sparkling wine on this trip. Too bad almost none of it makes its way to the US.” Why is this?
Don’s blog is hosted on the I-Wine Review site which has just posted a report on alternatives to Champagne – a useful marketing opportunity for SA fizzistas with US consumers buying down in the bubbly department as their financial chickens come home to roost. Don commented that while compiling the report the only SA MCC available for tasting in Washington was the Graham Beck Brut – Barack Obama’s favourite fizz. Is WOSA (the exporters’ mouthpiece) ignoring the US market or has all the effort gone into schmoozing Steve Tanzer and James Molesworth?
Approached for comment, a major exporter noted “WOSA spend 80% of their effort in the UK market where no one earns money. They only operate in a zone where they feel comfortable, i.e. in the UK market and NOWHERE else.” No wonder producers are starting their own marketing initiatives, which should be ringing alarm bells at 8 Helderberg Street, Stellenbosch.