SOUTH AFRICAN GOV’T HOSTED VIRTUAL WINE MISSION TO SOUTH KOREA
By Susan Lewis
Credit: De Grendel/Wines of South Africa
After five months of alcohol sales ban, the South African government is cranking up promotion efforts to help the country’s hard hit wine industry. Its trade department today hosted a virtual wine mission to South Korea to showcase wines from 10 Western Cap wineries.
The virtual wine mission was held on Zoom in collaboration with Wesgro, which is Western Cape’s travel, investment and trade promotion agency.
During the virtual wine mission, the 10 wineries presented their respective wines to an audience of 20 South Korean wine importers and distributors, who tasted the wines that were shipped to South Korea ahead of the mission.
South Africa’s Deputy Trade Minister, Nomalungelo Gina, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the healthcare sector negatively, but the economy in its entirety.
“A sector that has been particularly impacted by COVID-19 has been the wine industry, owing to the ban placed on alcohol sales by government and the accompanying travel protocols. Wesgro identified this to be a critical sector requiring support and had embarked on the concept of a virtual mission that would enable the promotion of small to large size wineries to new markets,” said Gina.
“South Korea is an important partner for South Africa in the Asian region. Our objective is to strengthen and deepen economic linkages through strong business and governmental cooperation between the two countries,” Gina added.
The organisers are confident that the wineries selected represent a good mix of established and up-and-coming brands, which have the capability to service the South Korean market.
At the start of COVID-19 lockdown, the South African government took a particularly drastic step by banning the sale of alcohol. In effect, there have been limited or no alcohol sales from midnight on 26 March to midnight 17 August 2020.
This has caused immense losses in revenue to South African producers. It is estimated that the ban has caused producers financial loss of some Rand7billion (USD414m). An estimated 80 wineries and 350 wine grape farmers went out of business costing up to 21,000 jobs.
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