•Victoria says that just like any other sector of the economy, a business friendly and favourable taxation regime in the country would make for better business for wine importers
•Markets insights platform Statista projects Kenya’s wine market to generate a revenue of US$86.7m (Sh14.1 billion) in 2024. The volume is expected to reach 10.4m Litres by 2028.
A growing well-informed wine market in Kenya is driving new trends in the country, according to industry players.
The wine culture in Kenya has been on a growth trajectory over the recent past, attracting a steady flow of curious and discerning wine lovers.
With the local and regional market largely dominated by South African and French brands, Italian wineries have now shown an interest in the region looking to popularise and grow the Italian wine and food culture in East Africa.
Wine Expert & Sommelier Victoria Munywoki says that the wine industry in Kenya has steadily grown in the recent past, driven by a widening middle class with an increasingly growing appreciation for wine.
The Italian Embassy in Kenya, the Italian Trade Commission and the promoter of Italian food and wine, Gambero Rosso, have announced the entry of 36 Italian producers into the Kenyan market.
They will showcase over 150 wine varieties to local wine traders, importers and restaurateurs.
“Having 36 producers coming to Kenya for an excellent wine showcase like this is a great opportunity for the trade community and such importers and wholesalers, especially noting that only a few Italian wines are popularly known and understood locally,” said Munywoki.
Wine has been more valuable to Kenyans than we might imagine. Over the past years, wine varieties have increased, and so have the stockists and drinkers with the French and South Africans having dominated in recent years
The latest available data show that as of 2020, an estimated 30 million litres of wine were sold in Kenya indicating a massive potential and opportunity for growth of Italian wines in the region.
Markets insights platform Statista projects Kenya’s wine market to generate a revenue of US$86.7m (Sh14.1 billion) in 2024. The volume is expected to reach 10.4m Litres by 2028.
Munywoki says that Kenyans are increasingly demanding better quality and better-rated premium wines, as opposed to the basic ones that have historically been served in most establishments.
“Historically, Kenyans prefer wines on the sweeter and fruity style. But we've seen a trend towards drier styles of wine. We're seeing a trend towards single varieties where people want to drink by grape for example,” said Munywoki.
This is very interesting because blends are wines that have a place in the discerning community already, but more and more enthusiasts are going for undiscovered single varieties.
“Italian Rose’ is getting a lot of attention, especially among men and we are seeing a lot of acceptance on Italian wines, particularly the red wines which is consumed more than the white wine in Kenya,” added Munywoki.
She however notes that, just like any other sector of the economy, a business-friendly and favourable taxation regime in the country would make for better business for wine importers, producers and traders too in faster market growth for all concerned with eventually benefits accruing to the customer
“We all agree that taxation is particularly high in Kenya, granted the government has the right to raise revenue by all possible means and which taxation is one. But of course, this eventually impacts on the cost of goods which then influences affordability," she said.