New WOSA head targets premium wines

01 November, 2013

Wines of South Africa’s new chief executive wants to push more premium wines in the UK and to see average bottle prices rise above £5.

Speaking to OLN on her first day in the role, Siobhan Thompson said the UK market remains very important to WOSA.

“It is important to showcase different levels [of wines], but also to showcase what South Africa can offer in terms of a more premium level,” she said.

“At the end of the day we would like to see average prices go up, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be other things out there at different levels.”

Thompson joined from Distell, where she was global head of marketing for Amarula and the company’s other liqueur brands. Under her leadership, Amarula has consistently ranked as one of the world’s fastest-growing liqueurs.

She said WOSA’s directors were looking for someone with experience outside the wine business, and that the trade can learn from spirits.

“They can learn lessons in terms of building good, solid, strong brands that remain true to what they are built to be. That is what spirits have managed to do quite successfully,” she said.

Marketing campaigns for 2014 have already been signed off, but as Thompson settles into her role she plans to review WOSA’s plans and will consider bringing in changes in 2015.

She sees emerging markets such as Africa and the US as the biggest opportunities for South African wine, while her biggest challenge in the new role is “consistent and clear communication both internally and externally, and building on a platform that has been put forward to take South African wine to the next level”.

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