Sparkling Moscato Madness Headed for South African Shores
South Africa looks set to be next in line for a touch of what the Americans rather dramatically call “Moscato Madness” due to the unprecedented increase in popularity of these fruity, Muscat-variety wines among consumers in the United States. Two new recently-released local Moscato wines, Meander Moscato and Palesa Fairtrade Moscato, are set to further the reach of Moscato-style wines in the South Africa market.
According to Pieter Cronje, Marketing Manager for uniWines Vineyards in Rawsonville which produces the Meander and Palesa Fairtrade Moscato wines from grapes grown in the Breedekloof wine region, this wine style has seen an explosion in popularity among American and European consumers in recent years.
“Sales of Moscato wines have grown by 80% in America over the past 12 months, with current annual retail sales of over US$300m,” says Cronje. “Moscato’s popularity has even eclipsed that of Sauvignon Blanc in the US. Since Spring this year, the UK has also reported a growth in sales and once the latest figures are released later in the year Moscato’s impact on the British market looks set to mirror the affect this wine has had on the American market.”
Both the Meander and Palesa Fairtrade Moscato are made from 100% Muscat d’ Alexandrie grapes. The wines have a lively bubble in the style of the original Moscato d’Asti wines of Italy. And besides the fruity flavours, the low alcohol of 7.5% adds to the wines’ popularity.
“Before entering the South African market, uniWines Vineyards conducted consumer surveys at various wine festivals and the reaction from the public to Moscato has been extremely positive,” says Cronje. “The fruity sweetness (residual sugar 85 grams/liter) is refreshing due to the balanced acids and the restrained alcohol is most definitely considered to be a plus factor. And the per-bottle prices of R35 for the Meander Moscato and R30 for the Palesa Fairtrade Moscato are definitely assisting to promote this exciting wine category.”
One of the major contributions to the success of Moscato in America has been the wine’s popularity among hip-hop artists such as Kanye West, Lil’ Kim and Ab-Soul who seem to have dumped Cognac and Champagne for the more modestly priced, yet sexy-as-hell Moscato – even making references to the wines in their music.
“No local musicians have gotten behind us as of yet,” says Cronje, “but with the increasing popularity of Moscato we are definitely not singing the blues.”