We may not always beat them at rugby, but South Africa has just beaten France at something that is bound to badly bruise French egos.

For the first time in history, sales of South African wines have surpassed that of French wine in the United Kingdom.

According to figures released by market analysts AC Nielsen, the volume of South African wine sales spiked by 20% from January 2009 to January 2010. This translates to 12 270 000 nine-litre cases.

At the same time, French wine sales declined by 12% to 12 266 000, nine-litre cases.

This growth means that South Africa is now the fourth largest wine selling country in the UK.

“This is a momentous occasion for the South African wine industry, which is relatively young in terms of the global export market,” Jo Mason, Wines of South Africa UK market manager says.

“In 1994 our producers wouldn’t have dreamed of selling more wine to the UK than France, but now the wine landscape has changed completely.”

Hopefully this victory will spill over to our rugby and soccer matches too…