Taking SA wine to new heights

Monday, 2 December, 2013
Sasha Planting, MoneyWeb
Siobhan Thompson has been in the hot seat as the new chief executive of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) for exactly four weeks. Previously head of global marketing for Distell’s Amarula brand, among others, she is no stranger to the rigours of global brand-building.
In her case she will be building on the work of her forerunner, Su Birch who played a significant role in advancing South Africa’s reputation not just as an exporter of quality wine, but as one of the most progressive wine-producing nations in terms of eco-sustainable wine production.

“Su established Wosa as a platform from which to promote South African wine under the banner ‘variety is our nature’. We will build on this, South Africa is incredibly diverse when it comes to wine regions and wine styles and this is part of our ‘uniqueness’,” Thompson says.

South African wine can’t be marketed simply as a fine product, she adds. Product marketing becomes about price and South African wine producers (and their counterparts around the world) are battling to get decent pricing on their wine in the face of supermarket strength. Instead a story needs to be woven and communicated that captures the ‘essence’ of South African wine. This is based on four pillars: heritage, a unique natural environment, product integrity (ethical farming) and lastly, the South African people.

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