Old wine in new cans? South African startup smells new export opportunity

Old wine in new cans? South African startup smells new export opportunity


CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – A South African startup hopes to take advantage of a growing global taste for canned wines as a lighter and more practical alternative to bottles.

Cans of Merlot and Chenin Blanc made by Uncanny Wines are on display in a wine bar in Paarl, near Cape Town, South Africa, on February 25, 2020. Photo taken on February 25, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Hutchings

Canned wines are already on sale in the United States, parts of Europe and elsewhere, but they are new to South Africa, which is one of the top 10 wine producers in the world.

The start-up, Uncanny Wines, based outside the South African tourist center of Cape Town, says it targets domestic drinkers first, but has an eye on the export market. The global wine industry is estimated to be close to $ 400 billion.

The company’s high-end red and white cans of wine are the first to be certified by the Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa.

“The initial response has been overwhelming, it is going very well and in the coming weeks we will be available nationwide in Pick n ‘Pay stores,” said co-owner Arnold Vlok, referring to a large Southeast retailer. African.

“We are very close to exporting to the United States, where this market is well established, and I think the European market is particularly sensitive to the benefits we add to the product, which is neither sulfur nor vegan,” said Vlok, speaking in a cellar where the company’s wines ferment.

Uncanny sells its 250 ml aluminum can for around 40 rand ($ 2.67) each, using the popular Chenin Blanc and Merlot grapes. He plans to launch a Rosé Pinotage soon.

At the wine bar of the Wijn shop in Paarl, which started to store canned wine, the customers seemed pleasantly surprised.

“Since it comes from a box, I had my suspicions, but I must say that it is one of the most beautiful Merlots I have tasted,” said Brandon Schlemmert, 21, after tried the product for the first time.

“It’s very practical … You can put it in a cooler if you prefer, you can take it anywhere,” he said.

Report by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Alexander Winning and Gareth Jones

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