Why are we talking about South Africa these days?
You may have been in the store last year from March - August, we had a display of South African wines near the front. This was in support of the wine industry there as they went into an alcohol sales ban, including exports. While we have left 2020 behind, trouble continues to stir for South African winemakers with a 2nd alcohol ban.Hospital capacity has been reached, more than 1 million cases have been confirmed, and a new more contagious strain of Covid-19 has been making it's way across the country. South Africa's government officials have decided to ban domestic alcohol sales and exports a 2nd time, in the hopes to decrease alcohol related hospital visits. "Reckless behaviour due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission. Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on our hospital emergency units," Stated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The first ban was imposed in March as lockdowns began. However, the prohibition nearly destroyed the already struggling wine industry. The government faces scrutiny as to why exports were included in the ban. Vitiners understand why domestic sales were halted, however the reasons why exports are included is still unspecified. Winery owners like Anthony Hamilton Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, noted that there are a lot of wineries still recovering from the previous ban. The exports were the winemakers last chance to salvage what they could from the previous year.
This is why it's so important to support the South African wine industry, by, buying South African wine! If we ignore the plea for help from these amazing producers, the closures might just leave us thirsty in the long term.