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South Africa replaces Spain to become fifth best selling country in UK, says Accolade

Published:  10 September, 2014

South Africa is enjoying widespread success in the UK, is bringing new consumers to wine, has seen an increase in both value and volume sales and has replaced Spain as the UK's fifth biggest wine selling country, according to figures released today by Accolade Wines UK.

If South Africa continues its current growth levels then it has every chance of overtaking the United States as the fourth biggest country in the off-trade within two years, said Jane Robertson, Accolade UK's  category development director.

The overall South African category is now worth £521 million in the UK, which accounts for a record share of 9.5% of the market and is one of only two countries, alongside Argentina, to be in real growth.

Whilst overall wine shopper levels are in decline in the off-trade, South Africa is increasing with 27% of consumers not only buying South African wine, but are prepared to spend more when they do.

The average South African wine shopper now spends £7.34 per visit, and does so five times a year. Spend per buyer over the year is now £36.08 up 12.7%.

Accolade's figures show its "growth between 2014 and 2013 represents £14m in a category growing at £27m (Nielen MAT 16.08.2014). Without its wines in the market, South Africa would only have grown by 3.2%, claimed Paul Schaafsma, Accolade's head of the UK and Ireland.

He said its success in the UK is being driven by its three flagship South African brands: Kumala; Flagstone; and Fish Hoek. But stressed its reach was 50/50 between the major multiples on one side and the convenience, independent, specialist and on-trade on the other.

Accolade's Kumala brand is the largest South African brand in the UK and is now the sixth overall brand by volume, selling more wine than McGuigan or Jacobs Creek, said Schaafsma.

South Africa's strong performance in the UK off-trade has been driven by the support of the major multiples, stressed Schaafsma.  Not only have they got behind the major producer brands but they are using South Africa to push their own exclusive labels confident that shopppers will be attracted to the fruit forward, consumer friendly styles of wine.

Of the top 10 biggest South African wine brands in the UK, six are supermarket exclusive wines, like Lions Gate from Tesco, which is the third biggest brand behind Kumala and First Cape. The bottom five of the top 10 are all supermarket wines including Vineyards from Tesco at six, Yellowwood Asda, seventh, Sainsbury's Clear Springs at eight, Vine Country from Asda at nine and Sainsbury's Stoneberg tenth.

Distribution of exclusive wines are up 8.6% against a drop of 13.8% for branded distribution.

White wine continues to show the most growth and accounts for 49% of sales, up 9.9% against 43% for red, up 4.4%, and 7.9% for rose. Rose saw a 12% decline in the last year as consumers have preferred the sweeter, less dry styles from competing countries.

Sauvignon Blanc has proven to be the real hero grape variety for South African over the last year to 18 months having nearly doubled its sales in the UK. The growth has been driven by South Africa's ability to produce consumer friendly New Zealand styles of Sauvignon Blanc.

This has been particularly attractive to the major multiples who have introduced a number of exclusive Sauvignon Blanc wine labels.

South Africa is now the sixth biggest selling country in the on-trade, according to CGA figures released by Accolade, and one of four countries in growth alongside France, Italy and Spain. South African is now worth £187m in the UK on-trade, 6% of all wine sold, 51% of which goes through the free trade.