KWV get the message


2014 has all the makings of a comet vintage for SA wine lovers. Winemakers are smiling as volumes are up as much as 30% and with exports booming in volume terms, they should have no problem shifting stock. But are SA wine drinkers getting ripped off? At the end of last year and the long awaited retirement of Su Birch, controversial head of WOSA, SA export numbers were spun faster than a whirling dervish. A picture rosier than a Chagal stained glass window was painted in a deluge of press releases and paid-for blog posts, but there was a worm in the Outspan apple.

rosy KWV get the message

Now that Analytix Business Intelligence has had a chance to process the figures for SAWIS, a few terrifying facts emerge. Over the last five year’s of Su’s reign, per litre export prices of SA wine collapsed in Randela terms. In $ and Euros, its a bloodbath. Red wine fell 6c to R17.95/litre, white slumped from R14.07 to R11.99 while Rose tanked from R12.46 to R8.04 per litre. Factor in inflation and its the US bombs Baghdad all over again, posing a question for historians “what is the true legacy of Su and her team to SA wine”? But the question of interest to SA consumers is why are SA wine prices so high if foreigners are paying peanuts?

IMG 3309 615x461 KWV get the message

KWV are one major brand who are getting the message as their Classic Chenin Blanc 2013 costs all of R35 a bottle and its 95% Swartland fruit, arguably the most fashionable and certainly the most over-hyped appellation in SA.

IMG 3320 615x461 KWV get the message

At a launch for lifestyle as opposed to wine media, several points were made, some by inference and some by global brand ambassador Charlene Engels and loquacious chief viticulturalist Marco Ventrella (above):

1 By locating the event in a hip sushi restaurant Kyoto Garden Sushi on Kloof Nek, Cape Town, the point was well made that sometimes Muhammad must travel to the mountain. Wineland events can be kewl or kreepy but you can’t beat the Test Kitchen or even better, the Chef’s Warehouse of Irish leprechaun Liam Tomlin (below), to get lavish lifestyle posteriors onto seats;

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2 Wine writers don’t sell wine – the only people who read anorak waffle are other anoraks and deluded marketing poppies who still believe in faeries. Let’s see if lifestyle luvvies can do any better;

3 Screwcaps are in and corkamorimcork KWV get the message
by Amorim Cork
s have gone the same way as leaches and bloodletting in medicine, although there are still plenty of both around on the wine scene I would hasten to point out;

4 Value for money remains the key to moving product. With Merlots of the quality of the Classic 2012 for R55 and the aforementioned Chenin, has a R100 glass ceiling descended again on the SA national cellar? With an economic recession on the horizon, hurried on by strikes and government profligacy, R35 whites and R55 reds may soon be seen as expensive;

5 Red wine sometimes works with fish – exhibit “A” is the bigeye tuna of Scott Wood paired expertly with KWV Classic Cabernet 2012.