Blog: Andy MortonCape Wine - Day Two - The politics of wine

Andy Morton | 15 September 2015

It is opening day at Cape Wine 2015 and that means the morning was taken up by welcome speeches.

Representing the Government was Western Cape's Agricultural & Tourism Minister, Alan Winde, who gave a strong speech on the need for wine companies to explore export opportunities within Africa.

With respect to Mr Winder, though, it was odd that an industry that creates as much export wealth as wine does could not attract a speaker from the national administration. On the trade show floor, one suggestion was that it may have something to do with the fact that the Western Cape - which contains most of South Africa's vineyards - is the only province not fully controlled by the ruling ANC.

Furthermore, more than one person has pointed out that South Africa is the only wine-producing country in which the wine industry is not subsidised: Trade association Wines of South Africa, for example, is totally industry-funded.

There seems to be an acknowledgement, however, that the situation will not change by complaining about it. One industry figure told me that he doesn't blame the Government for not funding wine efforts because South Africa has far deeper issues to deal with, issues that are of far less concern in, say, France, Australia and California.

Former Distell board member Francis "Duimpie" Bayly believes things can change and is looking to set up a lobby that can put forward the industry's views.

“We haven't worked well with the Government in the past, and we're trying to change that,” he says. “They make millions out of us, though VAT and excise, so we need to work with them to get more from them.”

For a full round-up of just-drinks' coverage of Cape Wine 2015, click here.

Sectors: Legislation, Wine

Companies: Distell

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