Last week we were able to share Bruce Jack’s personal and harrowing account of what the real impact of Covid-19, and the subsequent alcohol bans placed on South Africa by its government, has had on its drinks industry and the large community of towns and villages, and the people that rely on working in vineyards and for wine producers, has had. It generated an enormous response both in the UK, but also in South Africa itself and around the world. Today UK wine consultant Richard Bampfield MW calls on us all as individuals to do what we can to support South Africa by buying as much of its wine as we can. The only part of its industry that is still working. He also asks us to share our stories and the wines we like on social media under the hashtag #MyFavouriteSouthAfricanWines. Here he explains why.
The next time you buy some wine please put a bottle or two of South African wine on the order and do what you can to help the South African wine industry, says Richard Bampfield MW.
I suspect that all of us were shocked by Bruce Jack’s powerful article for The Buyer last week in which he explains the current desperate situation facing South African wine producers (click here to read)
I have no particular allegiance to South African wines over any others but have gained such huge enjoyment from so many of their wines in recent years that it breaks my heart to hear how their vineyard could be permanently diminished by the present oversupply – and that they have been disproportionately disadvantaged by the pandemic because of the actions of their government.
I appreciate that you and others have done much to support South African wines over the last year so fully understand if you feel you have already done enough. Personally, I’d like to try to do more.
Although not a permanent solution, we can help create space in wine tanks by buying South African wines, depleting current stocks and encouraging retailers to reorder (exports are permitted).
Under the hashtag #myfavouritesouthafricanwines, I propose that we all post, on whichever social media channels we use, our favourite South African wines – ideally three or four wines with a broad range of producers, retailers and price points. And that, at the same time, we encourage others to post as well under the same hashtag. As Bruce makes clear, the need is urgent as the new harvest is already starting, so we need to start immediately.
Simultaneously I will be writing to the key UK retailers of South African wine asking them what they think they might be able to do to help the Cape wine industry. I am fully aware that it is hard for them to react quickly to this sort of crisis, but there is no harm trying. If you are supporting the social media initiative above, please let me know. It will strengthen our argument with the retailers if they know you are backing it.
Finally, I hope to organise an online auction to raise funds, either for Bruce’s charity or for another, that can support the countless families usually employed by the wine industry in the Cape and who are the real victims of the current situation. Once I have further details, I will let you know.
An unexpected but useful learning from a conversation with Bruce last week was that a donation of 10p equates to 2 rand which can buy 1 simple meal. So we really can make a difference.
Both Bruce and Wines of South Africa are aware I am writing this letter and, hopefully alongside the rest of the South African wine industry, support the initiative.
I would be so pleased if you can offer your support and social media posts too.
- You can donate to Bruce Jack’s Headstart charity here.
- You can read Bruce Jack’s personal story here.