In case you have not heard, times are tough for all business sectors, notwithstanding the wine industry.Â The familiar landscapes I enjoy on a weekly basis are changing with the increased number of FOR SALE signsÂ standing alongside vineyards.
I haveÂ previously written and spokenÂ out in favour of embracingÂ innovation that willÂ advanceÂ the wine industry positively.Â Â Â Innovation calls for a shift in mindset: changing how we currently do business to effect a positive outcome, balanced with financialÂ reward.Â Changed mindset and thus innovative ideas is keyÂ to sustainableÂ business practice.
With surplus wine flooding the market, wine producers should consider the option of sellingÂ unfermented juice concentrate to local and international concentrate plants.Â There will always be a high global demand for white grape juice concentrate as it is used in many still and carbonated drinks.Â In the USA, for example, 70% of all juice consumed is sourced from foreign markets, a clear indication that the demand exists.
There are juice concentrate plants in South AfricaÂ that are not operating at full productionÂ volumes, so I ask the question:Â Â if there are wine producers, struggling to sell theirÂ wine, why not consider selling toÂ processing plants?Â Â Â I personally know of wine producers who have sold their entireÂ 2012 crop to processing plants.Â These are individuals who understand that irrespective of what the vintage serves up, the bulk wine marketÂ is all about quantity andÂ itâ€™s in excess.Â Â Off-loadingÂ excess cropÂ for processingÂ ofÂ juice concentrate not onlyÂ guarantees income, butÂ safe-guards the future ofÂ wine producer and labour forceÂ alike.Â
Alternatives to juice concentrate would be developing and marketing innovative RTD (ready to drink) products that offer exciting flavours, exceptional colour and attractive branding that will appeal to a cross-section of consumers.Â Â
Seems like a simple and effective solution to business challenges, but will struggling wine producers be prepared to shift their mind-set?Â At aÂ recent meeting Â this week, my client and I discussed the harsh realities facing the industry and we were inÂ agreement that change was not always easy.Â This is especially true where generations have owned and run their family farms andÂ my client summed it up well: â€œmaar, wat sal Pa se?â€