While the ban on the sale of alcohol in the country has greatly aided in lessening pressure on hospital resources amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has also left South African wineries without work. Locals cannot purchase their favourite wines, and those abroad are doing what they can to keep the industry afloat.
Michelin-star South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, founder and owner of restaurant JAN in Nice, France has committed to highlighting this crisis.
“South African wineries are going through an immense crisis at the moment. At Restaurant JAN in France, we’ve made the decision to serve only South African wines with our pairing menus, and to make South African wines exclusively available by the glass,” he announced on his Facebook page.
He also urges other South Africans in the restaurant industry across the world to do what they can to help the local industry.
“Organisations across the globe are also stepping up to help our wineries survive this vicious ban on local sales. I challenge all South African Chefs and Sommeliers abroad to do the same, and to please support our amazing wineries as much as possible.”
The South African African wine industry is a large contributor to the national economy. In 2019, wine exports reached 320-million litres, according to non-profit organisation Wines of South Africa. They also report that about 300 000 people are employed both directly and indirectly in the wine industry.