Debate: Bulk vs Packaged

Friday, 30 March, 2018
WineLand - Christiaan Groenewald & Mike Ratcliffe
Bulk wine is the forerunner of many bottled and boxed wines on the shelf. South Africa is a poor country with too much wine to pack, export and market and promote overseas. We simply don’t have the necessary capital.

In most countries wine exports are subsidised and promoted by their governments. This is not the case in South Africa. The so-called “quota” is so regulated and uncertain we can’t rely on it. To bottle or box, and sell or export your wine costs more than the wine itself. When it comes to lower-priced wine the manufacturers of carton, glass, paper and closures make more money than the wine producers so we export more packaging material than wine.

Compared with overseas countries, glass in South Africa is expensive. We basically have a glass monopoly in South Africa. When you export wine the shipping cost per container is the same for bulk and bottled wine, but with bulk you can fit in 24 000 litres compared with only about 10 000 litres with bottled wine. If you calculate the cost per litre, bottled wine is therefore more than double the cost of bulk wine.

SA wines have a very small space on the shelves in overseas countries and we’re often listed among “other” countries or producers or occupy the worst place on a shelf. The rand is too weak to be able to pay for marketing or a good place on the shelves.

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