Future Looks Rosy Enough to Wear Shades

After a bit of scratching and sniffing, I found my ball. The crystal one, that is. The crystal ball I inherited from the last living, breathing, floating genie to visit Cape Town, something they would do when the Bo-Kaap was still selling real lamb’s brains, hot masala and pedigree zol.

So after having said ‘ball’ – one, crystal – rubbed by my Ukrainian ball-rubber Kariska, the following predictions for 2014 drift before me in vivid lucidity. And yes, this is what the South African wine industry can expect in the next 12 months.

  • ·         A fresh wave of farm-worker protests erupts in the Cape winelands after the eloquent and sartorially gifted trade union leader Nosey Pieterse becomes personal sommelier and wine-adviser to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Seeing this as a sell-out of Pieterse’s labour loyalties, thousands of farm-workers from Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Worcester descend on the Premier’s Leeuwenhof Residence to present Zille with a petition demanding the return of “our boy Nosey”. Zille is unable to accept the petition as she and Pieterse are busy presenting a 25 year-vertical tasting of Autumn Harvest White Wines to a delegation from the Mongolian Hospitality Forum. Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, however, accepts the petition on Zille’s behalf and tells the protestors to “fok-of bêk to the platteland, and if you don’t vote DA, I’ll moer you, sommer whiff Helen.”
  • ·         The Swartland Revolution, one of South Africa’s premier wine events, is renamed the Swartland Episcopal after Pope Francis bestows sainthood upon various winemakers in the Paardeberg, Riebeek, Sandveld and Malmesbury regions. The three-day event attracts 2500 disciples who are on the first day of the Swartland Episcopal all miraculously fed with three Velddrif snoek, five of Tannie Lenie Dippenaar’s milk-tarts and a jug of old-vine Grenache. The event includes Shiraz and Scripture pairings, voluntarily communion with bush-vine Chenin Blanc and communal chanting sessions in the Malmesbury Town Hall as well as a very popular Paint Your Robe with Hermitage session in Koringberg. The Swartland Episcopal ends with the Swartland Saints walking on the Berg River’s water at the Gouda crossing, while Brother Tim James’s documentation of the – three day – event becomes a best-seller at the Vatican City’s Wine Club.
Pope Benedict analysing a jug of Old Vine Pinotage from the Swartland.
Pope Francis analysing a jug of Old Vine Pinotage from the Swartland.
  • ·         Wines of South Africa (Wosa), the generic marketing body of South African wine, arranges a visit to three local co-operative wine cellars for famous wine-writers from North-Korea, the Falkland Islands and Macedonia. In a marked shift from normal Wosa policy, South African co-operative cellars are commended for making drinkable wine from vines yielding more than 3,34 tons per hectare and the ability of these producers to farm without causing bodily or emotional harm to the farm-worker communities. This recognition for co-operative cellars in the far-flung regions of South Africa leads to wall-to-wall media coverage with international consumers now demanding bottled wine from co-operative cellars instead of bulk. The result is a shortage of bulk-wine from South Africa which sees many producers establishing vineyards in Angola, Zanzibar, Mozambique and Botswana to slake the global bulk-wine thirst. A Pinot Noir from the coastal region of Azanzi in Zanzibar wins the International Wine and Spirit Challenge Award for Best Burgundian Varietal.
  • ·         In a radical move set to have international repercussions, South African supermarkets unilaterally accept wholesale prices requested by wine producers and make-it illegal for wineries to undercut each others’ prices. This has an almost tragic effect when a well-known wine marketer from Worcester is told by a wine-buyer from a national retail chain that “your wine is too cheap, can’t I pay you more?” Upon hearing this, the marketer collapses from shock and is rushed to Plattekloof Medi-Clinic where he is revived without suffering long-term brain damage and re-assured that he was not in a delusional state when visiting the supermarket wine-buyer who, incidentally, sends flowers.
  • ·         After the Government bans all forms of liquor advertising in South Africa, the wine industry sets off on an unprecedented era of rapid growth. Wine writers, bloggers and social media practitioners committed to a combined love of the product of the grape, fill the void left by the advertising ban, exposing millions of South Africans to the diversity, quality and virtues of wine. Per capita wine consumption jumps from 6 litres to 72 litres in nine months as all other forms of alcohol are eschewed due to the media blackout on their pitiful beers, spirits and ciders. Soccer giants Orlando Pirates are renamed the Chenin Gang Bangers, while Kaizer Chiefs become the Pinotage Bad Asses after lucrative sponsorships are sealed with the respective representative organisations. Due to popular demand, the annual Veritas Wine Awards are held in FNB Soccer City where 80 000 people pack the seats to listen to Dave Hughes say grace and Charles Hopkins tell one of his famous jokes. With the wine industry’s phenomenal growth, Cape producers encourage their farmworkers to take-up yachting, snow skiing and polo, culminating in South Africa winning the 2017 America’s Cup in the speedy yacht Jou Ma se Hare.

Happy New Year. And see you in Dias Tavern.

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