Australia-China trade spat benefits South African winemakers

South African vineyards, which have benefited from the trade spat between Beijing and Canberra, have more than doubled their exports to China and even produced wine specifically for Chinese tastes.

After China imposed 212% tariffs on Australian wine following a diplomatic spat over the origins of COVID-19 in 2020, winemakers at green wineries in the rural region of the Western Cape province knew they could exploit a gap in the market.

“Australia exported $1 billion worth of wine to China in 2019, with a dominant market share of around 40% of all wine imports, there is clearly a huge gap to be filled and the South African category has benefited,” said Marcus Ford, Asia market manager at Wines. of South Africa, which represents all local wine exporters, told VOA.

“So our (wine) exports to China have doubled over that period and the momentum looks strong,” he added.

He noted that last year South Africa shipped $31 million worth of wine to China, a 59% increase from the previous year. Satisfy Chinese taste.

Wine company Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, is taking advantage of the Australia-China dispute (photo: doc).

Wine company Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, is taking advantage of the Australia-China dispute (photo: doc).

Matthew Karan, South Africa’s biggest beef exporter, is now also exporting wine, which he says goes well with a good steak. Karan’s AM Vineyard makes its own blends, specifically catering to Chinese tastes. “We go through rigorous checks back and forth with China to make sure our products match their tastes,” Karan told VOA, adding that the Chinese prefer their wines which are low in tannins and usually like red wine, red being the lucky color in culture. China.

Morné Le Roux, general manager for Swartland Winery, which also exports to China, agrees, saying that wine connoisseurs in China prefer dark red wines such as “Pinotage, Merlot, Cab Sauv and Cab Sauv/Merlot,” in an email to VOA.

“They don’t like screw caps, only wine with corks,” he added, adding that packaging was very important where “red, black, gold and silver on the label” were preferred and avoided green. [my/pp]