Wosa and the Little Guy

Last year this blog suggested that Su Birch best resign as head of Wines of South Africa (Wosa). All hell broke loose from the Wosa camp.

This hysterical reaction took me as something of a surprise. Politicians and business leaders with experience and maturity are often subjected to calls for resignation from voters and shareholders. It comes with the territory. Leaders take it in their stride. As we say in Afrikaans, the high branches catch the wind.

Birch fired off a furious letter to myself, chairman Johann Krige, Riaan Kruger from Salba and ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ strangely enough Paul Cluver Snr, former chairman of Wosa. (I regard the letter as personal so will stick to protocol by not publishing it, but suffice to say that the thing about the “hell hath no fury” holds true.)

The letter was followed up by a further illustration of Wosa’s unprofessionalism when the organisation’s communications chief and culinary consultant, Andr+¬ Morgenthal, embarked on a bout of sneaky ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ but unsuccessful ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ backstabbing of persons who dare question Wosa’s workings. This backstabbing included late night text messages with words such as “dig your grave deeper”. This from the official mouthpiece of South Africa’s wine exporters?

Books on Corporate Governance are obviously not as popular reading material as braai manuals at Wosa Headquarters in Stellenbosch.

Being a let-bygones-be-bygones kind of guy I was earlier this week eager to enthuse on an uncharacteristically forward-thinking Wosa initiative. The action concerned is the fact that Wosa is one of the sponsors of the first Afrikaans Arts Festival to be held in the Netherlands this coming summer.

This Festival is of huge importance as it is largely driven by the Benelux countries’ thirst for the vibrant expressions of Afrikaans culture which is hotter, hippier and sexier than anything they themselves are offering at the moment. To align wine with this festival, which is featuring the likes of Breyten Breytenbach, David Kramer, Chris Chameleon and Amanda Strydom, South Africa will literally give its wine a diverse and original voice, one that talks, sings and makes music and speaks louder than any hummingbird of indigenous buttercup can.

Unfortunately, my concern at Wosa’s poor communication was vindicated and my enthusiasm dampened when no further information of the Netherlands festival/Wosa link was made available. No statement to wine media. Nothing on the website. Upon requesting information I was told that Wosa can’t do a press release on every project it embarks on. Even on request and for an event which has seen Wosa hit the main news pages of major Afrikaans newspapers, a newsworthy occurrence in itself.

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10 thoughts on “Wosa and the Little Guy

  1. Don’t you think that perhaps these non-inclusions of yourself and Mr Pendick is because of the repeated slagging off of Wosa you do at every opportunity? You at least put forward an argument with your slagging off of them. Pendick just whines as if he is getting it from his ugly boyfriend. You guys cannot expect to be included in anything if you burn your bridges. Reality is – your (thats both you and Pendick as well as a lot of other so called “industry commentators and experts” behaviour is exactly what ails the South African wine industry – that laager, Dutchman mentality of us against them. Your attitude of we’ll rather screw our neighbour to our own detriment, than see them succeed while we wallow in our own shit permeates the SA wine industry. That is why we will never get ahead while the old school of wine writer/wine farm owners are still around. Luckily we have people like Adi Badehorst, Eben baby Jesus Sadie and a few others. If we let the industry be run by people like Pendick ,we’ll end up behind some obscure country like Lebanon or Switzerland in export sales. Perhaps, as a respected industry commentator, you can come up with solutions on how to improve things. Work together, like the damn Australians did, and we can achieve anything. But this constant bitching and moaning, like some random uneducated, hairy armpit old hag with a wet, unwashed, smelly panty is unproductive and getting extremely old.

    The Truffle

  2. Interesting, WOSA seems to be a budding cultural organisation for South Africa. Funny, I thought it was supposed to help South African wine producers sell their product, not polish the image of some hasbeen musicians! Obviously not, as recently WOSA refused to participate along with 14 producers wanting to go to Vinexpo, Bordeaux, the biggest wineshow in the world at a measly cost of around R25 000. I wonder what the sponsorship costs of the music festival are?
    Do we have any audited financials on what the little Fundi project turned out cost wise in the end? Methinks that was a bit of a damp squib!

    Perhaps it’s time the Board of WOSA remind the employees that they are there to sell wine and do the hard slog like every other wine marketing association from Australia, New Zealand , Chile and Argentina , who are all making huge inroads on global markets , instead of dabbling in “alternative marketing” that obviously isnt working. Bulk sales to Angola that cover up a large portion of the downturn in export volumes are not going to save this industries’ arse!

  3. Erm, White Truffle, in stead of having a go at “Pendick” and Tonto in your usual manner above, why don’t you rather tell us what you think WOSA is doing that’s praiseworthy?

  4. Hi Johan

    I have NEVER said that I admire WOSA for the work that they do. But if I thought I could do their jobs better than they can (which I don’t) , I would say so, and also HOW I intend to be better.

    What I did say was that if you want to criticize them at every turn – like Pendock is doing – then perhaps after the millionth blog post slagging them off, it is perhaps time that you come up with how you can do their jobs better than they can.

    Yapping like a Chihuahua stuck in a fence every time the subject of WOSA comes up shows you up for what you are. In the case of Pendock, it is the fact that he is rapidly being left behind by the multitude of “new” independent bloggers, tweeters and other social media users. A certain Roland referred to Pendock on Wine and I recently as a hater, and he unfortunately still gets attention for the vitriol he spreads. He is NOT a friend of the South African wine industry with the way he conducts himself around WOSA, and my comments on him is meant to not just attract attention to the fact, but also let him know that I (and many others) think he is a rude ass.

    The biggest irony of all is that Pendock bleats because he is not being included in things like blogger events (read his article in the Sunday Times of 2 weeks ago where he has a go at poor Werner Els from Dombeya) or being invited to WOSA events, yet he has nothing good to say about anyone or anything, unless its some random cheap and cheerful wine. Would you invite him if he treated you like this? I’d rather invite Julius Malema. He is more relevant.

  5. I am with the Truffle on this one. If you do invite Pendock to a producer event, chances are you get slagged off for some obscure faux pas, along with some intellectual masturbation to show how clever and popular he is. You might even get a photo of some unsuspecting chump with his book.

    Value to producer and consumer in nil. I am surprised that producers or distributors still invite him to their events.

  6. White truffle, stop acting like a dodgy politician (not that there is any other type of politician!) and answer my question…

  7. Wow, whoever Truffle is I am sure there are still a few highly qualified professionals left in SA, of the white coat variety, who can really help him. Hell man, you don+ô+¦-+Gö£Göñ+ô+¦-úGö£-¦+ô+¦-ú+ô+¦+ët have to suffer like that.

  8. I would love to know how much they’re pushing towards this festival as this is a sponsorship much better suited to big-brand (and money to burn) support. If you’re led to believe the Afrikaans festival is a mainstream event and you have visions of Amanda & Co. ripping the roof off Paradiso or de Melkweg, consider the venue is the theatre at the ethnographic(!) Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. (Literally ‘the Tropics Museum’ in Dutch and pretty much reserved for the non-Western world). It’s such a joke, we’ll come to think of the braai boek as a sensible idea, but as the Dutch would say to this sort of madness, ‘vooruit dan maar+ô+¦-+Gö£Göñ+ô+¦-úGö£-¦+ô+¦-+Gö¼-+’

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