The guessing game is over. After months of attempting to predict what impact the Western Cape’s ravaging drought was to have on the wine harvest, producers’ body Vinpro laid out the cards at an informative and comprehensive media briefing yesterday (8 May). South Africa’s wine cellars landed 1 220 920 tonnes of grapes – 15% less than 2017 – a figure that was initially expected to be even smaller. The grapes should convert to 948.3 million litres of juice and wine, calculated at an average recovery of 777 litres per ton of grapes.
No other agriculture body gives such a good Information Day as VinPro. And I’ve been to some – from ostriches to rooibos tea, farmed salmon to prickly pears. This year the South African wine industry’s official voice and representing body once again packed the Cape Town Convention Centre to the rafters, some of the 1 000 plus attendees having had to leave their farms at 04:00 to make it through the infamous inbound rush-hour traffic.
Media Release on Nedbank VinPro Information Day
The South African wine industry is going through some tough times, but sustainable growth is on the cards. What’s needed is a clear game plan, a stronger domestic market focus, ingenious marketing and a collective drive towards higher price points.
VinPro has given its full support to a plan of the Western Cape Government to rectify shortcomings with regard to farm worker housing, health and safety. The National Department of Labour, VinPro, Wieta and Fairtrade, together with Agri Western Cape resolved to collectively address challenges on wine farms.
This follows after an investigation by the National Department of Labour pointed out unacceptable worker conditions on certain wine farms. Concerned parties held a meeting yesterday at Agri Western Cape’s offices.
Rico Basson and Siobhan Thompson, CEO’s of VinPro and Wosa respectively, write about the troubled journey that is South African wine.
Recent depictions in the media of the South African wine industry as being rife with injustices are indeed disappointing. Our industry has made significant economic and social progress since joining global markets and has committed itself to achieving transformation and social development targets. There’s still a long row to hoe, but this is a journey that the industry and its stakeholders have embraced.
A lower grape crop due to extreme weather conditions. The national economy on the verge of collapse. Wine marketers who know diddly-squat about capturing the local and international market. The inability of producers to co-operate. Continued dependence on bulk-wine…..all that was needed at last week’s VinPro Information Day was an outbreak of phylloxera in the Cape Town Convention Centre and an impromptu strip-show by Dudu Miyeni to make the roof cave in.
Despite the line-up of high-powered speakers at this year’s Vinpro Information Day, the organisation’s CEO Rico Basson left the biggest impression in terms of succinct and pertinent information. If not exactly in terms of where the South African wine industry is going, but where it wants to go.
This last phrase is as refreshing as a glass of un-wooded Chardonnay on a hot day. Our country’s wine industry organisations are not known for putting their noodles on the tasting counter through the outlining of a game-plan. Because in these bodies the fear of failing is larger than the fear of a new round of subsidised Spanish red wine imports.