South African wines are increasingly being singled out as among the most exciting globally, but the industry has been struggling to leverage the new-found fame to raise the status and average price points of local wines in export markets. The inability to shake off the "cheap and cheerful" label is hampering the growth of the industry, which, while it holds massive potential to boost the local economy, needs to find new ways to unlock more value — and fast. The upstream effect of the inability to unlock value is, for example, that some wine producers revert to increasing yields — thereby reducing quality and placing strain on precious water resources — or price-taking to cover rising production costs rather than investing in building their brands, reputations and regional identities to differentiate products and earn higher prices in the long term. South African wine brand owners also enjoy fewer trade preferences than many of their New World competitors. Trade Law Centre CEO Trudi ...

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