Good News from The Cape

A glimmer of good news in these gloomy times

South Africa has relaxed their total lock down to allow wine to be transported to harbours and airports for export.

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I have deleted my posts on this subject

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Why would it not be good news for ordinary - (?) South Africans?

It’s good news for lorry drivers who’d otherwise be out of work.

The wine business is the largest employer of ‘ordinary South Africans’ in Western Cape.

The wine business generates its money one time each year by harvesting and making wine. The RSA total lock down started on 26 March - a time when some were still harvesting and wineries were at their busiest fermenting and dealing with grapes already picked.

Representations convinced the government to reclassify vineyard and winery workers as ‘essential’, meaning these workers could travel to and do their job.

But no wine is allowed to be transported or sold by anyone during this lockdown. With a new vintage wineries have to find space; it’s a time to empty tanks and barrels of the previous vintage.

With the exception I posted above, wineries can now ship wine in bulk or bottle to the port for export, clear space in wineries and earn money to pay workers.

They can keep their workers in paid employment, and that now includes truck drivers.

And hopefully wineries can keep ticking over without going bust.

All in all, I would say that’s good news for ‘ordinary South Africans’.
Just harvested Cabernet Sauvignon being pumped into fermentation tank at Kanonkop Estate in March 2020

Delheim winery sign - March 2020

Both Kanokop and Delheim supply wine to TWS


I have deleted all my posts on this subject

I think @peterm is making some extremely valid points here. All you have to do is look at the social media accounts of wineries all over SA. This is not just about exporting, it is about harvesting the fruit, it is about all the employees of this industry being able to now put food back on their table. I would imagine one of the safest place to be working is in the wide space of a vineyard . I think we need to look at all aspects of this . Also, this isn’t inclusive of the wine industry, these regulations also apply to other fresh produce. They will now be allowed to export too.


At some level there is a question of balancing the health risks against the social/economic/poverty risks. With any very seasonal product there is only one chance, and if you miss it the consequences are serious.


I have deleted my post

Yes, and South Africa has made a decision about its wine business.


Also bear in mind that, whilst our welfare state may leave a little/lot to be desired, I suspect it is rather better than that in South Africa. All those workers you are worried about may well be facing a much more immediate health crisis if they have no money to buy food. I don’t know how things work there, but that is my suspicion.


Your post was concerned with unemployment. I responded to that question.

How many people in this country are working in the supply chain to keep you supplied with food and necessary items? And our government - unlike the RSA government - include wine in the list of necessary items.

I cannot see that loading a truck at a winery and driving it to a port is different from any supply chain.

RSA Government took more strict measures to combat Covid-19 at a much earlier stage then the UK govt. They closed restaurants when there was one case in Western Cape and no fatalities. They banned incoming tourists entering the country from 26 March: BA cancelled all its flights to/from RSA wef that date. UK govt still allows flights from badly affected zones and does no testing when people arrive whereas RSA govt were testing incoming travellers in February.

I think your concerns about wine exports are misplaced. It is good news.


Just been alerted by an email from TWS

in which South Africa wine buyer Jo Locke MW writes

I was particularly moved by the comments and cry for help from one supplier, Alex Dale (Radford Dale/The Winery of Good Hope), early in the crisis.

‘It is such a bloodbath in our major sector (the On-Trade) that you represent a lifeline for us in the UK currently. A large majority of our export and domestic customers are telling us they cannot pay for what they have already shipped and that we should not expect any orders in the foreseeable future….’

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I have deleted all my posts on this subject

Thanks for posting that @peterm, glad we’re able to help them out.

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I ordered 3 bottles of Delheim Grand Reserve while I was in the Cape dues to collect from the showroom after my return. But by then it was closed.

I also thought I’d ordered more Kanonkop Pinotage, but since it doesn’t appear on my orders, I’ll have to order when possible.

Yes, James, I feel it my duty to join you and help them out :slight_smile:


Drink for Africa!


I think with that slogan you won’t have too much trouble getting support! I’ll certainly include SA next time I buy.


I like south african wine and i have been there . Unfortunately i caught a chill and was seriously ill on my return . However i enjoyed my time there. I wont go again but that nothing to do with South Africa I dont like long flights especially at night.

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Exports are halted again, after Govt announcement yesterday, 16 April

With great disbelief, the wine industry received the news that restrictions on wine have been tightened, through a total ban on the transport of alcohol.

One of the reasons cited is the security risk of transporting alcohol to ports, with the ban on local alcohol sales resulting in hijackings and an increase in illicit, underground alcohol trading.

I’ve been told by people in RSA that there have been widespread break-ins to liquor shops to loot the contents since RSA’s lockdown alcohol ban.

Source of story and quote - Letter to the editor: Ending of wine exports by government is self-defeating - winemag

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Oh no, that’s dreadful. Hi-jacking and robbery because the supply of alcohol has been cut-off. The industry could be ruined if this keeps up. I’m presuming the harvest has been completed and winemakers are allowed to continue their work in the wineries…

Makes you wonder if that’s why the UK government classified alcohol sales as ‘essential’. How long before we’re all brewing and distilling (and how-jacking)?