South African wine sales in China fell 29 percent to 5.5 million liters in the 12 months through April compared to the previous year, according to industry association figures.
South African winemakers don’t have a high profile in China. The focus has been on
French wine, said Fongyee Walker, co-founder of Beijing-based Dragon Phoenix Wine
Consulting, which educates Chinese consumers and advises wine associations from Napa Valley in California to Hawkes Bay in New Zealand.
Hein Koegelenberg is CEO of La Motte vineyard in South Africa. He wants to tap the
Franschhoek valley’s French Huguenot heritage to challenge the dominance of French vintners in China, Bloomberg reports. Koegelenberg is the brother-in-law of Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert, South Africa’s richest billionaire with a net worth of $8.9 billion.
Koegelenberg plans to boost wine exports to China by 25 percent this year.
“China has the biggest market potential by far,” Koegelenberg said in an interview at La
Motte, owned by his wife, Hanneli, 77 kilometers (48 miles) east of Cape Town.