Western Cape Government, Wesgro (the official Tourism, Trade and Investment promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape) and Wines of South Africa (WOSA), an Export Council that promotes South African wine exports, have teamed up to launch the Cape Export Network (CEN), a digital matchmaking platform for South African wine producers to advertise their product offerings and connect with international importers or buyers of wine.
The closure and scaling down of businesses, restaurants and other industries linked to the sale of alcohol, such as the wine tourism industry has impacted jobs and livelihoods as businesses struggled to meet their financial obligations, in the absence of sales during the lockdown.
These factors, along with the uncertainty surrounding the future of large trade fairs in a post-COVID19 world, have created a need for a digital solution to take South African wines to the world and maintain and build our position as a supplier of premium wine brands globally.
David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, said: “South African wines are internationally renowned, but there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on wine exports. And so, we welcome the launch of the Cape Export Network as an initiative to support and rebuild the industry. In addition, the platform also creates an exciting opportunity for new and emerging wine producers to be discovered by importers so that more people around the world can taste the finest wines that we have to offer in the Western Cape.”
The Cape Export Network’s primary function is to help importers looking for wines to fill their portfolio in a fast and secure manner by selecting five criteria, including wine type, red or white grapes, tasting notes as well as the region. Based on their selection, the platform presents wines listed that meet these criteria.
It is more than just a matchmaking platform, as it provides added value support to local importers and producers as well as international importers. In addition, this portal will eventually link to the Wesgro/Western Cape Export portal that will be launched in the coming months.
Producers that have never exported before, but have found a match on the platform are guided by sectorial experts and mentors to become export-ready to meet the needs of global importers of wine, through Wesgro’s Export Advancement Programme (EAP). The EAP provides companies with the necessary tools and technical assistance to build the competitive capacity and allow entry or expansion into key international markets, stimulate job creation and broaden the export base.
South African producers of wine also have access to a free-to-use ‘How to Export guide’ created by WOSA, as well as other materials they have available via the platform.
International importers entering the South African wine market for the first time and wanting to gain more knowledge about the industry and its products have the opportunity to do the free Wines of South Africa Online Wine Course. This course takes the user through six informative modules that help them better understand varietals, wine styles and the history of the Western Cape and the South African wine industry. It also gives them insight into the wine-growing regions of South Africa.
“We find ourselves doing business in unprecedented times and platforms such as these will help pave the way to doing business in a world where we embrace new opportunities and, in doing so, take on exciting new challenges. This platform will undoubtedly assist South African producers in exploring opportunities around the globe”, comments WOSA CEO, Siobhan Thompson.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris concluded: “The Western Cape is the world’s 8th largest producer of wine, already sells around one millions bottles of wine per day. Our new platform will now take more of our quality product to more buyers around the world. The platform is free to use, but everyone that registers will be vetted before being able to access the matchmaking services. Businesses will also be required to update their details quarterly.”
To access the Cape Export Network portal, go to: https://supportbusiness.co.za/capeexportnetwork/and if you need help registering and loading your product, go to: https://supportbusiness.co.za/capeexportnetwork/producer-registration-guide/