In South Africa, the prohibition of alcohol has put the wine industry to its knees

The objective of this prohibition was to reduce accidents and crime to relieve the hospitals, in a context of epidemic Covid-19.

Vineyards, Beau Constantia, South Africa.
Vineyards, Beau Constantia, South Africa. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via AFP

Nearly 18,000 jobs lost… It is the price paid to the Covid-19 by the wine industry in South Africa, the largest in the world, which employs 300,000 people. During their nine weeks of confinement, South Africans have been high and dry: the right to purchase alcohol. Thus, accidents and crime have fallen, relieving the hospitals who had to prepare for the influx of patients for the coronavirus.

But this has plunged the wine growers in the crisis. And the rush of consumers to the dive bottle since the partial lifting of the ban in early June – the sale remaining prohibited from Friday to Sunday – not enough to heal his wounds. “It is estimated that the long-term up to eighty of our caves are going to close”regrets Maryna Calow, a spokesman for the organization Wines of South Africa, which ensures the promotion of local wines. The blow was all the more severe that for six weeks, the authorities had also banned foreign sales. “We are the only country in the world where exports of wine were not allowed”growls Boyce, Lloyd, CEO of KWV, one of the major producers.

In countries such as Canada, Sweden, Finland, the years south africans have gone very quickly rays. And may not find their way back soon. The international buyers are now cautious and are looking for wines from other countries “in case there would be again a problem” in South Africa, says Boyce, Lloyd, who feared that the decisions of the government affect the supply chain for years to come.


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