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South African wine being poured with British flag

Exploring the growing popularity of South African wines in the UK

In the UK market, demand for South African wine has significantly increased in recent years. There are numerous reasons for this, including the rising quality of South African wines and British customers’ increased interest in Cape wines driven by tourism, are responsible for this growth. Currently, worth £2.6 billion, the South African wine business is anticipated to expand over the next several years.

The number of British consumers interested in experiencing South African wines has increased because of the nation’s dedication to producing high-quality wine, its Mediterranean climate, and a wide variety of grape varieties. The Cape Winelands, renowned for their beautiful landscapes and distinctive wine-tasting experience, are also helping to boost the nation’s expanding reputation as a vacation destination.
Additionally, these wines frequently cost a fraction of what comparable French or Italian wines do while providing equivalent levels of quality, making them a desirable choice for consumers on a tight budget. South African wine is available today to suit every taste and occasion, ranging from dry, full-bodied reds to crisp, refreshing whites. The unique flavour profiles of these wines, which frequently have distinctive qualities that set them apart from other New World wines, are also becoming increasingly popular.

South African wines are now more widely available in supermarkets and independent stores thanks to 9% growth in exports to the UK in 2019 and an anticipated 5% growth in 2023. It’s not surprising that South African wine is growing in popularity in the UK, given its superb quality and affordability. We anticipate seeing even more fantastic of these wines in the future.

The current state of South African wine exports to the UK

South African wine exports to the UK are currently expanding significantly. In fact, with exports rising by 12% in 2016 alone, South Africa is the primary wine area with the most substantial growth in the UK. These wines are increasingly in demand in the UK, and many supermarkets and independent stores carry them. There are currently more than 400 distinct South African wines accessible in the UK market, with options ranging from budget-friendly to high-end wines. Although Shiraz, Pinotage, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc are the most popular grapes in the UK, Grenache and Cinsault are increasingly gaining popularity among consumers.

With more and more premium wines being produced each year, South African wine producers are now prioritising quality over quantity. The recent export increase is driven by some incredible South African wines that are now widely available. Additionally, the South African government recently unveiled a new visa programme that makes it simpler for UK people to travel to South Africa and taste its wines, which may help increase exports.

It’s essential to remember, though, that the South African wine sector is now in a state of flux, with many wineries ceasing operations or cutting back on output due to the ongoing economic crisis in the nation. South African wine exports to the UK have significantly decreased, even though they were already down before the crisis. The wine industry is currently in a condition of contraction and consolidation, with many wineries closing their doors recently and those that are still open only functioning at a reduced capacity.

Despite the difficulties it is now experiencing, there are still some promising signs for the South African wine sector. Many wineries have been able to adjust to the current environment and are still producing top-notch wines. Additionally, the South African government just unveiled a new visa programme that would make it simpler for UK people to travel to South Africa and potentially taste its wines, which could eventually assist in increasing exports. As a result, there is potential for additional expansion in the UK market for South African wine, given the rising popularity of wines from developing nations like South Africa and the ongoing development of online retailing, which makes it simpler for customers to access a wider choice of wines.

Factors contributing to the rise of South African wines in the UK market

The increasing demand for sustainable and ethically-produced wines

Wine vineyards with wind turbines in the background
Wine Vineyards with Wind Turbines

The South African wine industry has been able to profit from the rising demand for wines produced sustainably and ethically in recent years. Their wines are renowned for being made from grapes farmed using environmentally friendly, sustainable farming techniques. These wines are also created using conventional methods, resulting in a more natural product that appeals to UK customers looking to purchase goods made sustainably and ethically.

With exports rising by more than 50% since 2011, the South African wine industry has experienced an impressive expansion in recent years. This is partly a result of growing UK customer demand for ethically and sustainably wines. South African wines are regarded as some of the world’s most environmentally responsible and sustainably produced. Many winemakers go above and above to ensure their wines are as ecologically friendly as possible. In addition, the nation has strong laws addressing the management of plants and grapes.

South African wines are environmentally friendly and frequently more cost-effective than other high-end selections. This is a result of the nation’s relatively low production costs. Wines from South Africa are an excellent substitute for more pricey selections when many consumers want to reduce spending. The popularity of South African wines has also grown due to the rise in celebrity sponsorships. Oprah Winfrey and Morgan Freeman are well-known people who have publicly expressed how much they enjoy South African wine. This has increased consumer awareness of the value and allure of these wines in the UK.

The emergence of new and exciting grape varieties from South Africa

Due in part to the advent of novel and intriguing grape types, the South African wine sector has recently experienced a spike in popularity in the UK market. Wines from South Africa are becoming more well-known thanks to varieties like Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, and Pinotage, which provide wine enthusiasts with various distinctive and tasty selections. A focus on creating premium wines that can rival the best in the world has also resulted in many South African wines receiving favourable reviews from critics. Consumer trends such as a growing interest in natural and organic wines and a desire for unique flavour profiles also contribute to the success of these wines. With excellent value for money and a diverse range of options, it’s no surprise that these wines are becoming increasingly popular in the UK market.

Examples of famous South African wines and wineries in the UK market

The demand for South African wines, such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage, and Chardonnay, has recently skyrocketed in the UK market. This is brought on by several elements, including the rising quality of South African wines and consumers’ increased interest in alternative New World wines. These wines are made by various wineries, such as Spier, Fleur du Cap, Meerlust, and Vergelegen. They provide outstanding value for the money while frequently being reasonably priced compared to other New World wines. They are an excellent option for everyday drinking and special events because they provide quality throughout various styles and kinds.

Where and how to purchase South African wines in the UK

With more people becoming aware of the excellent value and quality that South Africa has to offer, the country’s wine is growing in popularity in the UK. Many choices are available if you want a bottle to drink at home or give it as a gift. The following advice will help you find and buy South African wines in the UK:

South African Wines website on a computer screen
South African Wines Website
  • Check your local grocery or wine store. Many stores, now carry a selection of South African wines. 
  • If your local store has a limited selection, you can purchase South African wines online from retailers such as South African Wines ( Our site offers a wide selection of wines from all over South Africa and convenient delivery options straight to your door.
  • When purchasing be sure to check the shipping costs before finalising your purchase. Some sites offer free shipping, while others charge a nominal fee. At South African wines online, this is clearly set out. Some retailers inflate prices and reduce shipping costs. Always consider total costs.
  • Make sure you thoroughly study the label before selecting a South African wine. You might not be aware that some wines are produced with additional sugar or other substances.
  • And lastly, don’t be afraid to try new things. You can choose a wine from South Africa that you like because they come in many different flavours and types.

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