Advertising ban sours wine industry outlook

Friday, 11 October, 2013
Nick Hedley, BDLive
The wine industry fears a bill proposing a ban on alcohol advertising could do it serious harm by prohibiting important marketing channels such as wine festivals and competitions.
The yet-to-be published bill has come under fire for its anticipated effect on advertising revenues, mainly from beer and spirit producers. However, wine businesses expect it will hit the sector, which employs about 275,000 people.

Michael Fridjhon, director of Wine festival RMB WineX and wine business professor at the University of Cape Town, said on Tuesday that wine competitions and shows "are a crucial part of the wine industry’s communication".

He said that of South Africa’s 7,000 wine brands, only about 2,500 were distributed by conventional retailers and the rest relied on mail orders and online sales. Communication and tasting opportunities were key for smaller producers.

Prof Fridjhon said the long-term costs of the legislation "would run into many billions". An Econometrix report in June said wine tourism, which includes farm visits and events, produced annual revenues of more than R5bn.

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