South African government Ready for a Minister of Wine

With a frenetic period of bartering, schmoozing and heart-felt promises lying ahead as South Africa prepares for a coalition government, it appears that one certain outcome of the next governing collaboration is a dedicated Minister of Wine in the new national government. According to a leaked memo to intrepid news website, both the ANC and the DA have highlighted a pressing need for a wine minister in the legislature, while the EFF has also informed well-heeled donors and supporters that the South African wine industry needs to be represented on national government level.

According to political analysts, this implies that with these three parties expressing a wish for such a portfolio – and coalition negotiations set – to commence, the chances of a wine ministry being realised as a part of the country’s politics is a very real reality.

The leaked memo, a result of a misguided whatsapp message, states that the ANC and DA concur on elevating the South African wine industry to top national priority. From the ANC’s side, a Minister of Wine is apparently needed to guide President Cyril Ramaphosa’s wine cellaring activities in both his Cape Town and Johannesburg homes, as well as to assist with sommelier training on his Phala-Phala game farm.

“The President is struggling to get suitable help in managing his wine interests and sees the only way of addressing the situation is to appoint a Minister of Wine in national government which could with, proactive efficiency, co-operation and insight, help the President get his vinous house in order,” the memo reads.

Apparently, both the President’s cellars are disorganised and ineffective, with Barolo wines lying in the Burgundy shelves, Cap Classique stacked between grand marque Champagne and a complete sommelier Riedel glass collection continually being used for serving maas (soured milk) to the presidential gardening employees as well as for cultivating avocado shoots.

“At Phala-Phala the staff, again, have resorted to their old methods of stashing expensive wines under sofas, as well as using some back-dated issues of the Platter’s wine guide for fire-starters. The President says the first task of the Minister of Wine would be to appoint an oversight committee to address these issues and draft a report as to how these and other wine-related methods in the presidency can be addressed.”

The ministry of wine is also supported by the DA as it is deemed the only way of getting official body South African Wine to explain its strategy for the local industry in a comprehensible manner.

The President in Wine Mode.

“Somebody needs to step in at government level to interpret South African Wine’s goals, thoughts and potential solutions in terms of the country’s wine industry in a succinct, practical and outcomes-based manner. This official industry strategy currently reads and sounds about as effective, lucid and rational as the one aimed at promoting vegan biltong in the Northern Cape or foie gras cultivation in Noordhoek and – as the party ruling the country’s wine province – the DA and the nation demand better.”

Surprisingly, the EFF has also expressed a need to see a Minister of Wine installed in whatever form or shape the next government is to be.

“Julius Malema of the EFF has, apparently, for a time now deemed as ‘essential’ the need for a wine ministry, especially to explore the possibilities of turning parts of agricultural land in Mpumalanga and Limpopo into vineyard-rich regions producing wines that can rival the Cape’s best,” the memo reads.

Apparently, Comrade Malema and fellow EFF-vinophile Floyd Shivambo have undergone wine experiences at the great estates of Stellenbosch, questioning South Africa’s reliance on the Cape as the only source of suitable terroir.

“Comrade Malema has commissioned studies showing that the plains and valleys of Limpopo and Mpumalanga can offer a unique African terroir for growing myriad grape varieties, the fruits of which can be vinified to add diverse lustre to the entrenched profile of South African wines. Lush vineyards growing between disused mine dumps and charming shanty-towns can offer a wineland aesthetic like no other.”

A Minister of Wine can therefore remove the shackles of convention and help establish a new African wine offering, going against the grain of the Eurocentric, colonialist profile that South African wine has been known for to date.

The memo goes on to name potential Ministers of Wine being industry expert Michael Fridjhon, marketing guru Mike Ratcliffe, Carolyn Martin, hospitality extraordinaire, and wine-writer Malu Lambert, with the position not requiring any party involvement by the likely candidates.

With over two weeks of coalition negotiations to go, developments will be watched closely and could herald a chapter that is as new for the state of South African wine as it is for the country. Nothing wrong with Wine Republic SA.

Enjoyed this article?

Subscribe and never miss a post again.


2 thoughts on “South African government Ready for a Minister of Wine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *