WOSA fiddles the figures

Neil Pendock April 20, 2012 8

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.

Booming bulk exports or dumping before harvest?

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:

Geagte Lesers,

Uitvoer syfers vir verpakte wyn toon positiewe tendens
Gedurende die eerste 3 maande van 2012 het Suid-Afrikaanse uitvoere van verpakte wyn ‘n positiewe tendens getoon.  Algehele uitvoervolumes is met 21% op vir die 3 maande Januarie tot Maart 2012 in vergelyking met dieselfde tydperk in 2011. Terwyl tradisionele markte soos die Verenigde Koninkryk en Nederland onder druk bly, is daar positiewe groei in Duitsland. Die mees opwindende groei vir verpakte wyn is egter in nuwer markte, veral in Oos-Afrika, Rusland en Japan.  Daar is ‘n groeiende konsensus dat die internasionale wyn aanbod na ‘n beter balans beweeg, wat beteken dat pryse sal styg oor die volgende paar jaar.  Dit sal natuurlik baie goeie nuus wees vir wyn produsente.


  1. Dana Buys April 20, 2012 at 11:47 am -

    Neil, I think (sadly for many local jobs) that the trend in exporting bulk wine, to get bottled overseas under the winery’s own label, is a firm trend vs just emptying tanks ahead of the harvest.
    Rocketing local bottle and packaging costs, along with savings plus tax breaks and ‘green’ incentives of bottling at market, has forced the larger producers’ hands.
    The + swing is about 15 million liters which is far better than a kick in the backside…

  2. Neil Pendock April 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm -

    Dana, one producer told me SA bulk wine is being blended with cheap wine from Eastern Europe and sold as SA wine in the Netherlands. Is this really what the industry wants?

  3. Peter F May April 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm -

    Once thatbulk shipped wine goes into on eof those huge European bottling plants who knows what happens to it. Its ‘adjusted’ yes but what ends up in the bottle with the zebra or zulu warrioron the label is anyones guess…..

  4. pinto April 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm -

    I have no issue with bulk shipping but I only wish SA marketers could influence the names these no-brand wines are often given. I’ve seen some cringeworthy labels (stooping as low as ‘Baie Dankie’) which probably do more damage to the serious players than dilution with non-SA stuff.

    On the bright side, at least we’ve made a 180° turn from the embargo days when SA wine was labelled and sold as Bulgarian.

  5. Dana Buys April 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm -

    Neil, some companies you seem to like a lot have been known to import bulk wine from Argentina & blend that into household SA brands. Shit happens.
    The new bulk trend is not based on selling SA wines into other brands. Well known SA brands have simply moved their packaging process offshore. In order to be competitive and more environmentally friendly, they bottle closer to markets vs source.

  6. Mr Chow April 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm -

    Mrs Chow’s arse is so big now, me shipping her bulk to Yemen.

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