The South African government announced yesterday evening that all wine exports may resume as of tomorrow, 1 May 2020
The announcement is a breath of fresh air for South African wine, whose exports have been restricted for several weeks, even before the lockdown began on 27 March.
Further relieving news arrived this morning, as trade body Wines of South Africa revealed that 'in addition to being allowed to export wine as of 1 May, the wine industry may continue [the] manufacturing processes, including bottling, labelling and packaging. We want to thank the relevant government bodies for understanding our plight'.
'As an industry we remain fully committed to implementing a safety protocol, which will effectively address transmission risks across our value chain,' commented Siobhan Thompson, CEO of Wines of South Africa. 'The safety of our workforce, customers and consumers are of utmost concern to our industry.'
The news has been widely welcomed across the industry, however criticism remains over the ban on alcohol sales on the local market.
Rico Basson, managing director of VinPro, an organisation that represents some 2,500 South African wine producers, said on Twitter: 'Elated about wine exports, but really disappointed that the sale of wine in the local market [is] still not allowed via phased approach in low risk channels such as e-trade and home delivery with food. This will hurt many wineries and impact on jobs.'