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South African wine shortage predicted

The South African wine industry could face wine shortages within five years if sales continue to rise at the current rate, a leading South African producer has warned.

In 2008, total exports increased 12% to a record 405m litres but vineyard planting has not kept pace with increasing demand.

Merwe Botha, financial director at Distell told decanter.com, ‘We need to look at the demand and supply situation. There are signs that in the next five years the industry could face shortages in supply.

‘Producers have been under severe pressure because of margin and cashflow problems so they have not planted as much as they should have,’ he added.

Jo Mason, UK market manager for Wines of South Africa, agreed shortages might occur.

‘There isn’t a surplus of wine but we are still seeing exports increasing. If demand continues at the rate it is, there could be shortages in some areas,’ she said.

The total vineyard area have been fairly static since 2005, currently standing at 101,000ha.

Mason added, ‘Vineyard area has been very gradually increasing but there aren’t limitless expansion possibilities. There’s only another 40,000ha that could be planted.’

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Written by Rebecca Gibb

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