South Africa’s wine industry, the eight largest in the world, contributed R36.2-billion to the economy (1.2 percent of GDP) in 2013, according to a report by Conningarth Economists for South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS).
This is up from R26.2-billion added in 2008, despite a struggling world economy and a slight decrease in the size of the national vineyard.
Agriculture shedding jobs, but not in the wine industry
The industry employed 289 151 people in 2013 (mostly in the Western Cape), an increase of five percent since 2008.
South Africans, on average, only drink about seven litres of wine per year. This is far below the global average, forcing producers to market extensively abroad.
Wine exports more than make up for weak local demand
“Wine exports have grown tremendously in the last few years and now accounts for about 57 percent of total production,” says South African Liquor Brand Owners Association CEO Kurt Moore. “This is up from 20 percent in 1997 and 38.3 percent in 2003.”
Wine exports totaled 525-million litres in 2013 and 423-million litres in 2014.
South Africa doesn’t yet have many globally recognised brands and about 60 percent of wine produced is exported in bulk packaging.
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