Keywords: innovation, performance improvement, wine industry, industry networks, South Africa, globalisation, knowledge exchange, quality, product range, marketing, brand development, international competitiveness
Innovation and performance improvement in the South African wine industry
South Africa's wine industry was ill-prepared for the highly competitive, brand-conscious consumer markets it encountered on re-entry into international markets. The bulk of production was basic quality wine. Wine marketing expertise was concentrated among smaller independent wine producers and a few large wholesalers. The paper examines innovation in different segments of the industry and the extent to which it is being effectively supported by networking and knowledge exchange. Most producers have significantly improved quality and product ranges. But many producers are weak in the area of marketing, though some segments have achieved considerable success in this area. Respected institutions to support marketing and brand development and knowledge exchange between producers contribute to ongoing improvement in this area.