The South African wine industry has announced plans to ban cheap, low-quality wine in foil bags and plastic bottles and bags. Legislation is being drafted to present to government which could be implemented as early as July 2005.

Known colloquially as "papsak" (soft-bag) wine, 48m litres or 17% of the total domestic wine market is sold this in this packaging.

Johan van Rooyen, CEO of the South African Wine and Brandy Company (SAWB), the official industry representative body, said the industry had taken a firm stand against this practice.

The entire papsak culture had to be eradicated from South African society, he said. Not only does it contribute to alcohol abuse and social disintegration, especially among low income and rural communities, but it also damaged the reputation and integrity of the entire industry, he added.

André Matthee, executive manager of regulatory services with the SAWB, was leading a working group which was in the process of drawing up the necessary amendments to various acts under which liquor products fell. These included agriculture and trade.

The industry would look at drawing up the necessary container specifications as well as the analytical and quality prerequisites for all uncertified wines.