Stellenbosch Wine Routes and about 300 wineries in South Africa, together with Visit Stellenbosch, are supporting an official legal application requesting evidence from the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs explaining the reintroduction of a blanket ban on the domestic sale and transportation of alcohol.
The coalition says the wine industry value chain supports almost 300 000 people, is South Africa’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products and has made great strides in inclusive growth.
“The entire industry has now been put at risk by these seemingly irrational rulings,” it states.
The coalition notes that stakeholders in the wine-producing value chain were already under strain owing to initial lockdown restrictions.
It says the latest Advanced Level 3 Regulations, issued on July 12, will have a “devastating” impact on wine producers, hotels and restaurants.
“We question the rationality of newly promulgated regulations that ban wine consumption on wine farms and in restaurants. We also question the regulations which ban the physical or online purchase of wine for consumption at home.
"Further, we seek clarity on the assumption that the above actions will lead to the overburdening of South Africa’s health system, especially when the volume can effectively be regulated and limited,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes and Visit Stellenbosch chairperson Mike Ratcliffe.
“For most restaurants, business under the new regulations is now simply unsustainable. We need an inclusive solution whereby the industry is consulted, so that we can move forward in a measured, responsible manner – one which supports the government’s objective of balancing lives with livelihoods,” he adds.