News

Vinpro Survey: SA Wine Industry At The Edge Of A Cliff

The South African wine industry is at a tipping point, with many wine businesses, especially smaller companies and those under black ownership, facing potential closures in the next three to twelve months due to the recurring and now fifth domestic wine sales restrictions. This according to a survey by Vinpro in the past week.

According to the Impact of Covid-19 on the Wine Value-Chain Survey that Vinpro conducted early in July 2021 among wine grape producers, wineries and other wine-related businesses, 58% of the 549 respondents indicated that their businesses would have to make drastic changes over the next year to be able to overcome the current challenges related to Covid-19, and 22% will in all probability not be able to survive at all. Even more alarming is the fact that 46% of black-owned brands and farms believe that their businesses won’t be able to survive the next year.

Around two thirds of all respondents’ revenue is generated from domestic wine sales, which reiterates the importance of domestic trade for the survival of the industry. The local market is of particular importance to smaller wineries and black-owned brands which are heavily reliant on sales channels such as their tasting rooms, hospitality offering and ecommerce.


De Wetshof Mines Gold at Decanter with Awards now More Important than Ever

De Wetshof Estate, South Africa's pioneering Chardonnay producer in the chalk-rich Robertson wine valley, confirmed its reputation for continuously making excellent wines from this variety with two Gold medals at the Decanter World Awards held in London.

The Gold medals went to the De Wetshof Lesca 2020 – labelled 'Finesse' in South Africa – and to the estate's icon Bateleur Chardonnay 2018, made from a single vineyard planted at De Wetshof in 1987.

The Decanter World Wine Awards was judged by over 170 expert international judges who scrutinised the 18 000 wines entered from 56 countries. Judging took place last month at Canary Wharf in London at the offices of Decanter magazine, with the awards announced earlier this week.

The Decanter Gold medal is the third major accolade bestowed on De Wetshof's Lesca (Finesse) Chardonnay from the 2020 vintage. Earlier this year, the same wine took a Gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde, the world's leading competition devoted to Chardonnay, and was also named in the Top 10 wines at this year's Du Monde. This was followed with another Gold at the Mundus Vini Competition in Germany, also regarded as one of the wine world's major wine shows renowned for selecting wines of revered excellence through a thorough judging process.


Diemersdal’s The Journal Wines Rewrite History at Decanter Wine Awards

All three wines in Diemersdal Estate’s The Journal range achieved Gold medals at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, recognised as one of the wine world’s most prestigious wine competitions which was held in London, this year for the 18th time. Decanter Gold medals went to Diemersdal’s The Journal Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, The Journal Pinotage 2019 and The Journal Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

Diemersdal is situated in the Durbanville wine region of South Africa and was one of the area’s first wine farms with a history dating back to 1698. It has been in the hands of the Louw family for the past six generations.

This year’s judging of the Decanter World Wine Awards took place last month at the offices of Decanter magazine at Canary Wharf in London. Over 18 000 wines from 56 were entered for this year’s awards, with 170 expert judges scrutinising the entries.

Diemersdal’s The Journal premium wine range was only released last year, with the award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc representing these wines’ second respective vintages.

Thys Louw, Diemersdal’s owner-winemaker, says the achievement at Decanter was the fulfilment of the ambitions he had when conceptualising The Journal wine range.


Tokara sweeps the board at 18th Decanter World Wine Awards

Tokara, a proud Stellenbosch Cabernet producer, excelled at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards with two Gold medals and all five wines entered in the competition breaking the venerable 90 point barrier.

Tokara’s two gold medallists are the Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 with a score of 96/100 and the Director’s Reserve White 2018 notching up 95 points.

Tokara Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a consummate wine showing great consistency vintage after vintage. This acknowledgement from the world’s largest and most influential wine competition now it its 18th year, attests to the Ferreira family’s single minded vision of producing world class Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon from this focus variety at Tokara.

This full-bodied, richly textured wine is a true expression of the prized vineyard blocks on the slopes of the Simonsberg. Vibrant and bright, the wine shows classic graphite notes and briary fruits interwoven with five spice and the faintest hint of dried porcini. Expect a mouthful of dark cherry, red currant and fynbos scrub from this classic expression of Stellenbosch Cabernet.

The soon to be released Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2018 is an accomplished Bordeaux-style blend of Sauvignon Blanc (63%) and Semillon (37%) grown on the highest slopes of Tokara’s Stellenbosch property.


Diemersdal Named Best-of-the-Best at 20th Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

In its best showing at any South African wine competition to date, Diemersdal Estate in Durbanville was named Best Producer at this year's Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, which this year celebrates its 20th year as one of the countries leading wine awards ceremonies.

Diemersdal came out at the top of the heap of the entries representing the finest the Cape has to offer, winning the Trophy for Best Pinotage with its Pinotage Reserve 2019 and Gold Medals for the Private Collection Bordeaux Blend 2017 and The Journal Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

The results of the 2021 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show were announced on a special edition of Dan Really Likes Wine at midday on 30th June. Broadcast from The Houghton in Johannesburg, the live online event included the on-screen participation of the leading category winners as well as several of the judges.

Some 32 Gold Medals and 11 Trophies were awarded at this year's Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, which is recognised for its strict and meticulous judging.

Thys Louw, sixth-generation owner-winemaker at Diemersdal, says this achievement will go down as one of the farm's major achievements in its 323-year history.


5 Most Common Wine Faults (and What Causes It)

Ever wondered why the waiter pours you a taster when opening a bottle of wine? This is not so you can decide whether you like it or not, but rather to determine any wine faults. We take a closer look at the 5 most common wine faults, what causes it and how to identify it.

Cork Taint (also known as corked wines or Trichloroanisole)

Ever opened a bottle of wine and it smelled like a wet dog, pungent mould, or wet cardboard? Chances are big that your bottle of preciousness has been affected by the fungi present in the cork. The fancy name for those fungi is Trichloroanisole, but colloquially it is referred to as cork taint or a corked wine (which is not a description for a wine closed with a natural cork, that is). The fungi find its way into your wine through several avenues, but the predominant cause is a faulty cork that is already contaminated with TCA. Regrettably, there is nothing you can do to eliminate TCA from a wine, and the best solution is to take it back to the supplier so that they can (hopefully) trace a spoiled batch. Alternatively, buy wines that are closed with screwcaps rather than natural cork. Not only will you get to the romance part of enjoying the wine quicker, but chances are slim that you will open a spoiled wine (and there is no chance of TCA).


SA wine is more than a drink; it’s a livelihood

The South African wine industry is concerned about the dire consequences that yet another alcohol ban or restrictions on the sale of wine will hold for wine-related businesses and the livelihoods of those working in the South African wine industry value-chain.

Vinpro and the rest of the wine industry share President Ramaphosa’s concern over the sudden and severe spike in positive Covid-19 cases and related deaths, and understand the need for drastic measures to address it. However, without financial support by government it is simply not a viable option to shut down an entire industry on which more than 269 000 people are dependent for their livelihoods while more targeted lockdown measures can be utilised.

“A blanket policy approach to the restriction of wine sales is unnecessary, unjustified and counterproductive. We know and have clear evidence that the restriction of legal trade in wine and other liquor products fuels the growth of the illicit market. Illicit trade currently represents 22% of the total local liquor consumption and has grown significantly since 2020. Because this illicit market is outside the regulatory reach of government and operates uncontrolled, it may have a devastating effect on communities from a health and socio-economic perspective,” says Rico Basson, Vinpro MD.


Wine Industry celebrates the achievements of 40 rural change agents appointed by the Evergrow Foundation in partnership with Aware.org

EverGrow Foundation, previously known as Vinpro Foundation, was established in 2013 by Vinpro, the wine industry body for wine producers, to curb the harmful effects of alcohol harm, amongst other social challenges. Since then, the foundation has grown in order to support more agri-business and more agri-communities and recently changed its name to EverGrow Foundation.

Less than a year ago, the foundation, in partnership with Aware.org (The Association for alcohol responsibility and education) launched the Aware Ambassador Project. Today we are proud to announce that we have since recruited and trained 40 incredible women, the “Aware Ambassadors”, to be much needed agents of change in their rural farming communities, often forgotten by mainstream planners and funders.

The Aware Ambassadors have become true heroes in their communities, as one beneficiary noted: “I don’t know what we did before she came along’. We have so much to look forward to now. She listens to our issues and she actually provides support and actual solutions. I used to be a heavy drinker, but since the Aware Ambassador shared the dangers of alcohol harm with me, I have decided to change my drinking habits. I am working on becoming a better person and to contribute to my family in a positive way.”


New focus for Cap Classique highlights the importance of time and more

The Cap Classique Producers Association has recently re-positioned its marketing objectives to highlight the importance of time in the making of fine South African bubbly.

The Cap Classique Producers Association has recently re-positioned its marketing objectives to highlight the importance of time in the making of fine South African bubbly. The change occurs simultaneously to a drive for changes in local legislation governing the production of Cap Classique, and for which the CCPA are lobbying. All very positive indeed.

Part of the new strategyis that we now have a fully-fledged marketing arm that takes care of the day-to-day activities on the local and international front. We are gearing ourselves for the 50-year celebration of the first Cap Classique produced (in 1971) next year.

Therefore, this message is for all of you who love and follow and drink Cap Classique! Part of our drive going forward, is to refrain using the acronym, MCC. We know that it is an easy way out, but we feel that the category can benefit hugely by referring to the product as Cap Classique. Therefore, we urge you to share this information with your marketing teams, those who make the decision on labels, and with those who liaise with media and press.