Stellenbosch Wine Routes and at least 300 wineries across South Africa are throwing their weight behind an official legal application requesting evidence from the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to explain the reintroduction of a blanket ban on the domestic sale and transportation of alcohol.
In an unprecedented show of industry unity, the broad-based wine industry coalition is demanding an explanation from the Minister and questioning the prohibition’s rationality. The wine industry value chain supports almost 300 000 people, and is South Africa’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products.
Stakeholders in the wine-producing value chain were already under tremendous strain due to initial lockdown restrictions. The latest Advanced Level 3 Regulations, issued on 12 July without any consultation with industry, will have a devastating impact on wine producers, hotels and restaurants.

“We question the rationality of newly promulgated regulations that ban wine consumption on wine farms and in restaurants. We also question the regulations which ban the physical or online purchase of wine for consumption at home. Further, we seek clarity on the assumption that the above actions will lead to the overburdening of South Africa’s health system, especially when the volume can effectively be regulated and limited,” said Mike Ratcliffe, Chair of Stellenbosch Wine Routes and Visit Stellenbosch

Uniting behind this legal application, brought by Southern African Agri Initiative, are: Stellenbosch Wine Routes, Visit Stellenbosch, the Paarl Wine Route Association, Hemel en Aarde Wine Growers Association, Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism Association, the Wellington Wine Route Association, as well as Fairview Investments, Rust and Vrede Wynlandgoed, Welbedacht Wines and the South African Sommelier Academy.  In addition, the legal motion is receiving support from a number of wine regions and stakeholders.

The new regulations are taking a major toll on employment, according to Ratcliffe.

“For most restaurants, business under the new regulations is now simply unsustainable. We need an inclusive solution whereby the industry is consulted, so that we can move forward in a measured, responsible manner – one which supports the Government’s objective of balancing lives with livelihoods,” he added.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.