Retailer Massmart is to use the international reach of US parent company Walmart to increase export opportunities for emerging South African wine makers under its Developing Wine Brand programme, the company said on Friday.
This follows the successful entry of the popular Seven Sisters wines and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's royal brand Bayede! Wines into the US and China respectively in the last year.
Seven Sisters wines are now on the shelves of 300 Walmart stores in the US, after launching in 54 stores in August 2012, while Bayede! Wines recently shipped around 35 000 bottles to China, also under a contract with Walmart.
Massmart said on Friday that it would be looking for superior quality wines from its Developing Wine Brand programme to recommend to Walmart.
According to the company, the 19 participating brands have sold almost 17 000 bottles locally since the launch of the programme in March 2012. All 19 brands are now available in Makro stores as well as selected Game stores countrywide.
"We have learnt so much during the first year and have been able to tweak the offering," Massmart's supplier development manager, Moshisi Lehlongwane, said in a statement.
To begin with, participants received consulting advice on issues such as customer analysis, packaging and pricing. However, it soon became clear that getting the wines from farm to store was the biggest challenge, and Massmart now provides logistical support, with backing from Cool Wines.
"We aim to achieve this by providing a route to market for our participating wines, mainly through Makro and other liquor chains in Massmart," said Carolyn Barton, Makro's national wine buyer. "We also assist with distribution, in-store marketing, promotional support and training."