Original Research

The liability of emergingness and country-of-origin effect on South African wine

Schalk van Wyk, John M. Luiz
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 55, No 1 | a4146 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v55i1.4146 | © 2024 Schalk van Wyk, John M. Luiz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 June 2023 | Published: 04 April 2024

About the author(s)

Schalk van Wyk, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
John M. Luiz, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; and University of Sussex Business School, Brighton, United Kingdom


Purpose: The study explores the country-of-origin effect on the product evaluation of wine offerings from South Africa in European markets. We examine whether a liability of emergingness manifests and its characteristics from an African context.

Design/methodology/approach: Using a qualitative approach, we examine the country-of-origin effect building on the existing theories and gaining insights from multiple perspectives and participants who are involved in the South African and European wine supply chains.

Findings/results: We reveal country-product category interaction and show that the wine category has certain dynamics (complexity, vastness of choice, and limited consumer knowledge) that leads consumers to rely more on extrinsic properties in their product evaluations. We show that a liability of foreignness and emergingness, and particularly Africanness, is at work in terms of the product evaluation of South African wine in European markets.

Practical implications: We integrate the country-of-origin effect with the liability of foreignness (specifically emergingness and Africanness) research and demonstrate its manifestation in an African context. We contribute towards emerging market country-of-origin effect research, highlighting the liability of emergingness, and unpack its multidimensionality and connections between product category and country engagement dynamics, and how these are affected by consumer involvement, the retail environment, and engagement with expertise.

Originality/value: Understanding how country-of-origin effects manifest with products from emerging markets is of increasing importance given the continued economic shifts towards that part of the world. We examine avenues for South African producers to mitigate country-of-origin effects.


country-of-origin; country image; liability of foreignness/emergingness/Africanness; South Africa; product evaluation; wine sector; emerging markets; international marketing

JEL Codes

L66: Food • Beverages • Cosmetics • Tobacco • Wine and Spirits; M31: Marketing; O10: General; O55: Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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