Some encouraging news for South African wine producers can be gleaned from the latest survey of users of Jancis Robinson’s website – if you can extrapolate trends from it, which is obviously by no means certain. The survey compares results from 2015 to those of the 2010 survey, and it shows a great increase in interest in South African wine.
For this question, visitors to the site were asked to list the three sorts of wines that interested them most. Burgundian wine came top, followed by Italian, then Bordeaux, then Rhône. (Interestingly, Burgundian and, especially, Bordeaux, show big decreases in interest compared with five years ago.)
The South African interest rose from 3.8% five years ago, to 9.4% now – making South Africa tie with New Zealand, in joint 12th position, just behind Alsace and Languedoc-Roussillon. (Perhaps more people are realising just how much more appealing, not to mention cheaper, are Cape sauvignon blancs compared to Marlborough’s!) This is perhaps the biggest overall increase of any country in the survey. Only “Other European” (from 2.3% to 6.1%) and “Other French” (3.3% to 7.4%) also exceed 100% increases in interest.
A few point ahead of South Africa and New Zealand, as the most “interesting” non-European region was Australia, at 11% – down from 11.4% five years ago (this despite the fact that 6.6% of respondents were Australian – the third-largest grouping, some way behind the UK and the USA). Strangely, to me, interest in Californian wine was down from 10.2% to 7.7%.
It’s difficult to conclude anything from this, of course but it is, as I say, surely encouraging for local producers. Let’s hope it leads Jancis to increase her coverage of South African wine.