As if the South African industry were not already as divided as the butt-cheeks of a Polish discus thrower, certain politically correct souls are now targeting producers who dare sell wine at a price deemed by said pinkos as “exploitative”.
The “exploited” are obviously the vineyard and cellar workers. Pinkos have now started writing and tweeting that,producers whose wines are,retailing for around R25 a bottle or less in the SA market can only command this price by paying their workers starvation wages, limiting their access to satellite TV and only allowing the communal Jacuzzi to run once a week. Buy cheap, the argument goes, and you are contributing to the exploitation of farm workers.
The fact that 85% of all white wine in South Africa is sold at below R30 a bottle and 80% of all red at under R35, must thus imply that the majority of wine-drinkers are thus exploiting there fellow South Africans. But this is beside the point.
The argument of cheap wine meaning “Labour Exploitation” and more expensive wine implying better wages for farm workers, is devoid of all logic. As vacuous as a condom dispenser in the beach volleyball section of the Olympic Village.
For see, there is a difference in a thing called Grape Yield Per Hectare. And this Grape Yield Per Hectare was not created equal.
Take Stellenbosch. Average yield per hectare is between 5 and 10 tons. Now look at the Breedekloof where yields vary from 15 to 25 tons per hectare. Throw in the fact that (vineyard) land costs in Breedekloof are 20% that of Stellenbosch, and the pinko crowd would have to admit to a startling reality: It is more expensive to produce a bottle of wine in Stellenbosch or Constantia or Franschhoek than it is to create the thing from grapes grown in the Breedekloof, West Coast or Orange River.
Because there are more grapes available at a lower price. (For further clarification, go see your shrink.)
And this has diddly squat to do with labour costs. In fact, take into account that seasonal workers are paid for the amount of grapes they pick, those working in high-yield areas producing cheaper wines are actually better off than those scratching through the low-yield vineyards of the more blue-chip regions.
Further proof of this will occur when the Wosa-supported Wieta noddy badge starts appearing on the shelves, stuck on bottles retailing at well under the pinko threshold. And implying that even producers of cheap wines around R20 a bottle are audited for fair labour practices and a decent wage.
Cheeky, but true.