Wines of South Africa to promote ethical practice

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is to highlight strong ethical labour practices by the country’s wine producers in a UK trade and consumer media push.

Ethical production of wine is a key concern for British retailers that conduct their own ethical audits, said WOSA marketing manager Sophie Waggett.

She added that the PR campaign would publicise a series of initiatives by the Wine Industry Ethical Trading Association (WIETA).

The PR campaign, which is supported by a sampling programme at retail outlets and events, will also target consumers beyond the wine pages in consumer lifestyle titles – at a time when South Africa has become the fourth largest wine seller by value in the UK, with a ten per cent market share.

Waggett said South African wine needed to be portrayed in a broader context, aligning itself with tourism and food as it attempts to shed its reputation of cheapness and promote its more expensive bottles. Bottles with price tags in excess of £5 represent South African producers’ greatest area of growth.

Waggett said WIETA’s social transformation projects would appeal to wider business media. Projects include a student bursary to study wine marketing in the UK and anti-alcohol-abuse campaigns.

WIETA – established and funded by wine producers and UK importers and retailers after a ten-year tax break was awarded by the UK Government in 2002 – has created an ethical accreditation programme for South African producers, focused on labour conditions.

The tax break has created a £1.2m marketing budget for WIETA, which WOSA will tap into for a campaign by Phipps PR.

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