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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