17 October 2012
The South African wine industry’s first business-to-business showcase in Nigeria, where the wine market is valued at around US$300-million a year, met with such an encouraging response, say the organisers, that another event is being scheduled for next year.
Hosted by Wines of South Africa (Wosa) in partnership with the South African High Commission in Lagos, the exhibition, billed as the First Grand Tasting, formed part of the South Africa-Nigeria Week that took place earlier this month.
“While South African wines currently account for about a fifth of all wine sold in Nigeria, thanks to the efforts of individual wineries, this is the first time a cross-section of producers has collaborated in bringing their offerings to the country, identified as one of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets,” Wosa said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Wosa, the two-day event at the luxury Federal Palace Hotel in Victoria Island attracted capacity crowds, “from importers to well-heeled consumers interested to experience what is new in wines from their own continent”.
SA’s second-largest African wine destination
The Grand Tasting followed similar exhibitions held recently in Angola, with another showcase scheduled for Uganda later this year.
After Kenya, Nigeria is South Africa’s biggest African destination for its wines, with volumes sold growing by 15% in 2011.
Ten South African producers participated in the Lagos show, including big players such as DGB, Origin Wines and Rooiberg Wines, international exporter the Baarsma Wine Group, the family-owned Bellevue, and a selection of black empowerment labels like Ses’Fikile Wines, Re’Mogo Wines, Thokozani Wines and Bayede! Wines.
Thandi Mgxwati, political counsellor at the South African High Commission in Lagos, said the event had successfully highlighted “the variety and excellence of South African wines available to the local market, where sophistication and interest in luxury goods is growing”.
‘Impressive quality and stylistic diversity’
Wosa’s market manager for Africa and the Americas, Matome Mbatha, said the occasion gave the Nigerian trade a chance to experience a mix of large-scale and smaller boutique producer offerings from South Africa.
“Delegates were impressed by the quality and stylistic diversity of what they tasted … Exposure to wines made in Africa is exciting for Nigerians,” Mbatha said.
“We used the platform to highlight that our wines originate in ancient soils, and that our wealth of biodiversity makes it possible to produce a vast array of wines and wine styles. Trade, media and consumers were so responsive to the wines on offer that our intention is to arrange several more of these events to raise the profile of South Africa as a producer of prestige and premium wines.”
The second Grand Tasting was scheduled for July 2013, he said, and would form part of the International Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.
Mbatha said it was critical that Wosa develop the presence of South African wines in Nigeria’s key metropolitan areas of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Onitsha and Port Harcourt.
“Not only European producers but also those from Chile and Argentina are keen to capitalise on the country’s growth, and we need to maintain the visibility of our wines.”