Global wine community urges President Ramaphosa to lift the ban on wine exports

In support of the South African wine industry, scores of letters from the global wine community have been addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting that the ban on the transport of wine – and ultimately on South African wine exports – be lifted.

This follows an initiative led by the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) to garner international support by asking international buyers, importers, decision makers and journalists to write to the South African Government to highlight the immediate and long-term implications that this ban will have on South Africa.

Exports account for 50% of the wine industry’s income and the restriction on the transport of wine announced on 16 April 2020 has resulted in estimated losses of between R200 and R300 million per week since lockdown was introduced.

Where we respect the rules of lockdown for safety reasons, this ban will have a devastating effect on the future of the South African wine industry and on the lives of the 290 000 individuals financially dependent on the wine industry,” says Andrea Mullineux, CWG Chair.

“with export orders waiting to be shipped but with no end to the ban in sight, overseas wine buyers have expressed their disappointment and frustration. Markets that we have worked so hard to grow over the past two and a half decades will be forced to look elsewhere for their wine supplies.” adds Mullineux.

Letters from around the world all share the same warning – if wine orders cannot be met and deliveries not fulfilled in time, South African wines will be replaced by South Africa’s competitors.

“This will not only create massive short term hardship but will also lead to long-term damage in export markets as products sell out and are replaced by supplies from South Africa’s competitors.” says Greg Sherwood MW, senior buyer for Handford Wines in the UK.

The effect of this ban on wine exports is far-reaching and will impact on many other spheres of the South African economy.

“Apart from the wine industry being an important employer, South African wine producers are important in building the reputation of South Africa as a nation abroad. We see our consumers take an interest in the stories and culture of South Africa, increasing tourism and creating long term relations between our consumers and your beautiful country and its people.” writes Erica Landin-Löfving, journalist and founding member of the Magnum Wine Club.

“We are buoyed by the incredible support from our global brothers and sisters in wine and hope that Government will not only lift the ban but realise the valuable role the South African wine industry plays in the economy of this country -  not just from exports and wine sales, but through tourism and positive relationships with other countries.” concludes Mullineux.