South Africa should take advantage of the growing appetite for South African wines in Russia and strengthen their marketing efforts to create more awareness and increase market penetration, says wine company La Ric Mal Wines marketing manager Malcom Green.
The Stellenbosch-based winemaker is one of more than 30 companies that showcased its products at the World Food Moscow International Trade Exhibition in Moscow from September 24 to 27.
The trip was funded by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) with the aim of assisting agroprocessing companies to find a market for their products in Russia.
Green’s company exports wines to 11 African countries, including Mauritius, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Angola, as well as China.
In the week of September 18, a container left for Ghana with 13 000 bottles of the company’s wines as a result of a deal Green clinched during a trade and investment mission to Accra organised by the DTIC in March.
“The appetite for South African wine is slowly but steadily growing in Russia. South African companies need to take advantage of this growing appetite and market our wines aggressively in order to create product awareness and increase demand,” says Green.
He explains that Russia is not only an important market for South African wines because of us being fellow Brics members, but Russians are “gradually falling in love with our wines as they have come to realise its uniqueness when it comes to taste and quality as a fruit-driven product”.
He adds that initiatives such as DTIC-funded international trade missions and national pavilions contribute significantly in introducing South African wines to various international markets.
“South African wines are regarded as new in the world of wines.” The South African wine industry is 360 years old and its being available on the international market for less than 25 years as a result of economic sanctions that were imposed on South Africa by the international community before democracy, accounts for this.
Green explains that the company needs to up the ante in regard to its wine marketing and promotion efforts on the global stage. The Russians have been getting their wines from Spain and Italy for many years. South Africa has to work hard to improve its market share.
Further, Green is optimistic that his company’s concerted efforts to penetrate the Russian market will soon bear fruit as he has been working on it for some time.
His son and business partner, Ricardo Green, will be making his third trip to Russia in an attempt to get a distributor.
He mentions that most of the deals signed in the export and import industry are a result of good relationships that have been built over a period of time. It is not easy to get into a country and come back with a sale deal under your arm first time.
“My son has built relations with some business people during his previous visits and introduced our wines to them. He will be meeting them at World Food Moscow and hopefully something concrete will come out of those meetings this time,” Green concludes.