As I may have mentioned before, the current hoopla about booming SA wine exports in the first three months of the year is largely unwarranted and WOSA’s newsflash earlier this week is just plain wrong. Focusing on the Afrikaans version of the newsflash as Afrikaans is the lingua franca of the industry, the flash is headlined “Uitvoer syfers vir verpakte wyn toon positiewe tendens” (export numbers for packaged wine show a positive trend). The flash kicks off “Gedurende die eerste 3 maande van 2012 het Suid-Afrikaanse uitvoere van verpakte wyn ‘n positiewe tendens getoon” (during the first 3 months of 2012, SA exports of packaged wine showed a positive trend). Which is simply not true, as a two minute examination of the SAWIS export numbers will confirm. Exports of packaged wine are down over 4%, to 37.6 million litres from 39.3 million litres in the first quarter of 2011.
Bulk sales are up 50% (from 34.5 million litres to 51.6 million litres, swamping exports of packaged wine) and there is an overall increase in export volumes of 21%, but the boom in bulk is not the best news for producers as profit margins are typically paper thin, if indeed there is any profit at all. My bet is the boom in bulk exports was producers dumping the contents of their tanks to make space for the 2012 harvest.
What is more worrying is the cavalier regard for statistics and the truth demonstrated by WOSA. The WOSA newsflash is factually incorrect and the industry and SA public needs an explanation as to how this happened.
That WOSA newsflash of 17 April in full: