Five Predictions for South African Wine Industry 2019


1. As a result of Britain withdrawing from the European Union at the end of March, France, Germany, Italy and Spain agree on a boycott of wine exports to the UK, resulting in an unheard-of surge in demand for wines from outside the EU. This leads to South Africa scrapping all bulk-wine exports, with its packaged wines experiencing incredible demand and commanding extraordinary prices in Britain – a bottle of Four Cousins Rosé hits the shelves at £49.99, while riots break-out in Leeds as wine-drinkers clamour for a special offering of Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc at £36.95 in Tesco.

Meanwhile back in South Africa, citrus orchards are rapidly pulled-out and replaced with vineyards. The newfound strength of the local wine industry allows for various lucrative Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions which leads to numerous incidents of sheep-slaughtering on Clifton and other beaches to honour the spirits of the ancestors that brought wine to the Cape.

Siobhan Thompson and Rico Basson, CEOs of Wines of South Africa and Vinpro respectively, narrowly escape injury when their organisations’ mutually acquired Gulfstream private jet lands in a ditch after an abortive taxi on the runway at Martinique in the Caribbean. The two were returning to South African after negotiating the rights to a film on the country’s wine industry that actor-director Bradley Cooper is planning to make.

2. The local natural wine movement is thrown into disarray when a tourist picks-up a vicious case of herpes after drinking a skin-fermented orange Colombard at a well-known Cape Town restaurant. The wine in question, which had spent 22 months on its grape-skins in a 278 year-old muscadel barrel while Delta blues-music was played in the cellar, had been passed by the SA Wine and Spirits Board yet instigated a nasty oral rash to the 32 year-old female visitor from Croatia who imbibed the liquid. After placing pictures of her rosy, festering rashes on social media and blaming her pain and appearance on South African wine, the local industry decides to investigate the natural wine sector. In the process, three inspectors develop various ailments attributed to the imbibing of natural wines ranging from constant anal-leakage to nasal warts. As a result, a new set of rules for wine-making in general is drawn-up, as well as medical advice on how to treat potentianatural wine afflictions.

3. Former president Jacob Zuma makes a political comeback after his strong showing in the 2019 elections in May, with president Cyril Ramaphosa offering Zuma the first-ever post of South African Minister of Wine. In his first few months at the helm, Zuma’s successful handling of the portfolio leads to another amazing boost for the South African wine industry. The Minister of Wine releases a CD of his favourite drinking songs after which the entire Zulu nation shuns traditional beer and sour milk for Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is an unprecedented escalation in the demand for premium local brands and a surge in applications for acceptances into the educational courses offered by WSET and the Cape Wine Academy.

Zuma is made Chairman of the Veritas Wine Awards, a popular choice when he hosts the annual gala awards shin-dig in traditional leopard skin and catchy white sneakers. The minister also becomes associate editor of the Platter’s Wine Guide, the latter which he translates fluently into isiZulu, creating a lexicon of African wine terms for the first time and thereby introducing a whole new set of South Africans to the drink that had been on their door-step for all these years.

4. The increased demand for wine locally and internationally leads to an unavailability of product samples to be sent to journalists, bloggers and social media influencers. The lack of free wine results in various reactions in the media world, ranging from despair to outrage. This culminates in a protest-march by aggrieved bloggers and social media influencers to the offices of the South African Media Institute (SAMI), the protestors implying the lack of freebies to be an impingement on their right to freedom of speech as well as it harbouring potential health implications caused by the painful condition known as SWS, aka Selfie Withdrawal Syndrome. The protest ends peacefully when a representative from SAMI meets the demonstrators, creating a welcome diversion by offering a tray of instagrammable kale and sea-salt muffins, as well as photogenic glasses filled with kimchi smoothies. #winning

5. The South African Wine Tasting Team win the World Wine Tasting Championships in France in dramatic fashion when Team USA are disqualified after their star taster, Bud Shevag, is tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Team South Africa were well-chuffed with their second spot – the best ever – but pandemonium broke out with the news of Shevag’s admission to having taken odourmisine, a substance that chemically enhances the participants’ olfactory skills. American president Donald Trump initially dismissed this accusation as fake news, but after speaking to a tearful Shevag and personally analysing the urine sample even he had to concede that foul-play was committed. The South African team, meanwhile, were treated to a ticker-tape parade through the town of Malmesbury as well as causing national headline news, their victory deemed as somewhat making-up for the Springbok rugby-team’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The disgraced Shevag is building a wall somewhere in America.

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