By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
About 16 black-owned South African wine brands will showcase their finest blends at the Vinexpo America in New York, making it the largest group ever at the event. The initiative was driven by Wesgro, Sawitu, and the department of trade, industry, and competition.
According to Food For Mzansi, the sixteen black-owned brands have been hand-picked to represent Mzansi’s slowly but surely more diverse wine industry.
Top Wine Producers
This trade-only expo, convening the world’s top-producing wine regions, will be hosted from Wednesday, 8 to Thursday, 9 March 2023 at Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre.
In the joint initiative by Wesgro, the official tourism, trade, and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (Sawitu), and the department of trade, industry, and competition, the percentage of black-owned businesses participating at Vinexpo America will be significant.
“The US market has always been a high priority market for South African wine brands,” says Wendy Petersen, executive manager of Sawitu.
“However, market access to the US has been a challenge for several decades. In the last few years, though, a concerted effort has been made to engage with this market.”
Sawitu’s partnership with Wesgro on the US initiative is a result of increased market access through Wesgro’s Export Advancement Programme.
The programme’s head, Nadine Smith Clarke, has been instrumental in driving the process, as well as trade and promotions activities for South African brands in the United States market.
“The Vinexpo America event will build on the work that has already been done and will allow brands to engage with importers, buyers, retailers, and journalists to showcase their award-winning wines and new products,” Petersen adds.