The contribution of fine wine …
From the prayer of St Francis: “Grant that I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand”
Visit any Cape vineyard right now and you will see the crop hanging plentiful. Winter rains have been abundant and the odd shower we have had in the run up to harvest, seems to have come just at the right time. After a couple of lean years, we are being blessed with a promising crop of well ripened healthy fruit.
You would expect a sense of joy and elation on every grower’s face, a sense of reward at last. Alas, the sense right now is one of despondency, despair, and even anger at the seeming inability of those in power to recognise the value a fine wine industry brings to our country, our lives and livelihood.
Jacques Steyn, Chairman of the Cape Wine Masters, has summed this up most eloquently in a recent article and this serves to provide an excellent summary of the positives of the Wine business. Read here
The fact that the powers that be have simply lumped the aesthetic “table wine” market with alcohol in general, indicates a clear misunderstanding of the difference between the two.
Make no mistake – the wine industry still has some serious homework to do, with the effect of cheap wine consumption being of huge concern, and very damaging to society. So, just as those of us who produce and supply world class wines to a discerning and generally responsible consumer, we desperately need those in charge to understand what we are about, whilst also needing to understand the damage caused by irresponsible wine production and distribution.
If we wine people are people of the land, who respect our workers and their families, and have the moral fibre that this country so sorely needs, then WE have to be pro-active in this battle against wine abuse. Out fight is a different one to the SABs of this world; we are not only justifying our existence based on the tax revenue we provide (which is considerable). The beer and the spirit people have a different product and generally, a different market, so they must come up with their own solution.
The best interim solution right now would to be to allow ONLY the sale of table wine as controlled and certified by the Wine and Spirit Board, and in one swoop rid our society of the “papsakke”, the plastic “rooi doppies” and the scourge of illegal “ales”.
While a vaccination might eventually rid us of this pandemic, only WE can provide the vaccination to rid society of the damages and consequences of alcohol abuse. Let us UNDERSTAND the problem and by working together, find solutions.