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Overview of the global Sauvignon Blanc market

Pardon my French.

Pardon my French.

Did you know that South Africa has the fourth largest plantings of Sauvignon Blanc in the world? Our 9 645ha at the end of 2011 amounts to 10% of global plantings behind France (30%), New Zealand (17%) and Chile (13%).

In France, it’s the third biggest white variety behind Ugni and Chardonnay. It seems the punters can’t get enough of the stuff as there’s been a 12% increase (3 100ha) of plantings in the last five years. 45% of production is exported – the UK and the USA being the two leading export markets.

The Loire alone has 8 734ha of Sauvignon planted, and here it is the fourth most common variety behind Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Muscadet. Average production per year is some 60 million bottles a year.

There are nine AOP  (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) in the Loire which are given over entirely to the production of Sauvignon Blanc when it comes to white wines, these being Coteaux du Giennois, Menetou Salon, Pouilly Fumé, Quincy, Reuilly, Touraine, Touraine Chenonceaux, Touraine Oisly and Sancerre.

 Of these, Touraine Chenonceaux and Touraine Oisly are new, the first official release of wines carrying these appellations occurring on 1 May last year.

These wines were proudly presented to the jurors of Concours Mondial du Sauvignon 2013 but the motivation of creating ever more specific AOPs has to be questioned. You suspect the motivation on the part of all involved is about simplifying the marketing message but it does presume a level involvement on the part of the consumer that very often isn’t there. Of course, it’s not just the French who are guilty of over-egging the pudding. We have our very own Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge…

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