SA Wine Industry Embraces the Tap

SA Wine's new best friend.

CRAFTIER than a seasoned contingent of parliamentarians, the South African wine industry authorities are trying to sneak through a recommendation allowing the addition of water to pre-fermented wine. Reasons include the usual: “But they do it in America!” as well as a bit of Wine for Dummies 101 by stating, ag Jeez man, but we are hot climates and therefore have these bloody high alcohol and the world don’t want high alcohols, so to make our wines more accessible, let’s water it up.

By 15%, I hear.

Two problems, the first being the responsible bodies’ inability to communicate their intentions proactively. Paranoia and suspicion characterise these industry bodies’ attitudes to the media. For them, the media always seem to have ulterior motives. So no proactive, transparent strategy has been followed to inform society at large as to why this diluting of wine has now suddenly become necessary. Nor have fears that this development could negatively affect the reputation of South African wine been addressed. The result? Rumours, incorrect reporting, general confusion.

Secondly, lofty statements that the move to add water is necessary to protect the integrity of South African wine by lowering alcohol levels and therefore delivering better wines are total bull-shit.

Check out the alcohol levels of your favourite Simonsberg Cabernet Sauvignon from the early 1990’s. 13%, max. In any event, we already have machinery to remove alcohol.

No guys, do not try to pass this one off on folk of reasonable intelligence. The reason for allowing the addition of 15% water is to pump up volumes for big producers. This year’s low-yield harvest have led to a shortage of wine and a loss of revenue. So, if you are harvesting 60,000 tons and allowed to add 15% water to the juice you can pump-up your wine supply and make a couple of extra million in the process.

This is the heart of the matter.

What’s the use of having an Integrated Production of Wine system in place, when adulteration is sanctioned by the self-same industry?

The results of poor and lazy winemaking are not going to eradicated by water. Poor, substandard wines will now only become poor, substandard and,watery wines.

-,,,,,,,,, Darian Morgan

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