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Cape Wine 2022 opens with splash of sustainable credentials

Published:  05 October, 2022

Following the hiatus of Covid, Cape Wine has bounced back, flagging the South African industry’s sustainable ambitions as it looks to recover from its severe pandemic-induced setbacks.

Addressing delegates at the opening under the banner Sustainability 360° – also highlighting the years since the first vines went in – WoSA CEO Siobhan Thompson said the industry “wants to share its energy and enthusiasm” for the future.

Thompson thanked the international trade for “support that afforded a life raft” to many South African producers during the disruption of the pandemic, before laying out the industry’s sustainable credentials.

“Sustainability is the overarching theme [of Cape Wine 2022]; sustainability is a focus that absorbs the whole wine industry, a never-ending quest,” she said, going on to outline the impressive progress and accreditations achieved by the industry to date.

South Africa, delegates were told, is in “pole position” with regard to sustainability in its wine industry, and has the chance to “lead, and show leadership” to the rest of the world.

In addition to the environmental progress made, the importance of social sustainability was also underlined, in a country where unemployment sits at 40%, rising to 55% among the youth.

    • Read more: Blind Ambition Review – rags-to-riches story is important lesson for wine industry

Angela Thoka Didiza, minister for agriculture, land reform & rural development, then outlined the importance of wine to the South African economy, being the fourth largest agricultural export, accounting for 6% of total exports, and with ambitions to grow that share.

The UK’s part in that equation was stressed, being the “leading export destination for wine, followed by Germany, USA, Netherlands, Namibia and Canada, to name but a few”.

Didiza added that there is a strong “ambition to expand exports, to markets including Asia – to China, South Korea, India, Bangladesh and Japan”.

Sales of Cape Wines, meanwhile, have bounced back post-pandemic, with exports “about $1bn – about back to pre-Covid levels”, according to the minister.

Initial feedback from producers exhibiting at the three day Cape Wine event centred on optimism and opportunity for the industry, expressing what one described as “the resilience of spirit” that is a hallmark of South Africa’s wine community.