New heights for SA

Wine pours out of South Africa as exports rise

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South Africa’s wine exports are set to hit new highs in 2013 with a growing demand from North America and Asia, according to industry executives and growers.

Wine exports rose to 469 million litres in the year ending April, which is 25 percent more than in the previous 12 months, data from the Wines of South Africa trade body (Wosa) shows. Bulk shipments rose 53 percent while those of bottled and packaged wines fell five percent, as large producers bottled more in export markets.

A wet winter bringing plenty of underground water, more marketing in the US and elsewhere, and good global demand for bulk wine contributed to the boosted yields in 2013, according to Su Birch, Chief Executive Officer at WOSA. The rand, which is near a four-year low against the dollar, is also helping exporters.
However, costs in South Africa are rising as the government increased the minimum wage for farmworkers by 52 percent to R105 ($11.51) a day after a series of strikes in wine-growing areas in the Western Cape turned violent, prompting the police to respond with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons.

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