Marc Kent, the joint owner of Boekenhoutskloof winery in Franschhoek, is typical of a new breed of bullish young winemakers who have carved out a very successful niche for themselves in the UK.
From his easy-drinking Porcupine Ridge (£6.99) and Wolftrap (£5.99) labels to a £20 Syrah or concept wine The Chocolate Box, Kent takes an unpretentious and consumer-led approach that has won him acclaim from wine critics and 20% annual growth. He will deliver 1.4 million bottles in 2005, compared with 6,000 in 1996.
“Our market is very defined - we over-deliver for the money,” he says. “Our cheapest offering is £5.99 and we don’t want to go any lower because, at that price, no-one’s making any money.”
Kent says a new black middle class in South Africa is starting to make wine the drink of choice, which is an “amazingly exciting” opportunity for the trade.
“The message from buyers in retailers such as Morrisons and Majestic is they want to grow the South African category and create more SKUs, which shows our huge potential,” he says. “We have a real story to tell and a great offering.”