South African Ambassador together with BISA representatives’ hosts leading Irish wine merchants in Dublin

Hosted by Ambassador Yolisa Maya and Business Ireland South Africa

The honourable South African Ambassador to Ireland, Ms Yolisa Maya, hosted several highly regarded Irish wine merchants at the RDS in late February 2022.   Ms Maya was accompanied by Mr Willem Geerlings, Counsellor Political, Ms Jean Smullen (Wine consultant) and BISA representatives, Mr Liam MacGabhann (former Irish Ambassador to South Africa), Ms Julie-May Ellingson and Mr Anthony Tattan.   The wine merchants in attendance included: Willie Dardis (Ampersand Sales), Kieran Cody (Cassidy Wines), Paul Turner (O’Brien Wines), Conal Cassidy (Robb Wines), and Richard Moriarty (Findlater & Co).

The purpose of the meeting was to better understand the Irish wine merchants’ interest in South African wines and what could be done to increase South African wine sales in Ireland. 

Despite South Africa being the ninth biggest wine producer worldwide and producing about 4% of the world’s wine, South African wines hold only 2.2% of the market share in Ireland (a decrease from the 2.7% market share in 2019).    62% of wines sold in Ireland are considered ‘new world wines’, i.e. those originating from South Africa, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA.   The wine merchants provided great insights into past successes with SA wine sales, current challenges and what they believed needed to be done.  Overall, the wine merchants agreed that there was an opportunity for South African wines to increase their market share in Ireland.  However, more effort needed to be made to educate Irish consumers about South African wines and stronger partnerships needed to be formed between the wine producers in SA and wine merchants in Ireland.   

In closing, the Ambassador thanked the wine merchants for a highly productive meeting and indicated that the South African Embassy, together with BISA representatives in Ireland and Cape Town, would be working to bring the relevant parties together to develop a decisive action plan to increase the sale of South African wines in Ireland.

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