19 March 2014 08:07

20 Years of SA Wine Progress

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is celebrating 20 years of South African democracy, a record year of wine exports in 2013 and massive strides in quality and sustainability, with a bright and refreshing animated video.

Using the metaphor of the rainbow nation, the term used by Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu to describe South Africa's diversity, the 105-second clip links each of the rainbow's colours to an advance in the industry. These range from the growing international acclaim for the country's top wines to a huge drive to promote fair labour conditions and ongoing leadership in sustainability.

The upbeat video that encapsulates with entertaining simplicity just how far South African wine has come, is being sent to international media, the wine trade, wine and tourism organisations and to South African embassies globally.

In 1993, South Africa exported close to 24.5 million litres of wine. The following year, with the opening of international trade, volumes sold off-shore doubled to almost 50 million litres. In the two decades since then, exports have risen more than tenfold to 525,7m litres in 2013, reaching around 140 countries.

A trailblazer in environmental sustainability, the country has also managed to set aside more than 130 000 hectares in the Cape Winelands for restoration to indigenous habitat. The combined area devoted to conservation is already significantly more than the national vineyard that measures just over 100 000 hectares.

The focus on eco-friendly production that in 2010 led to the introduction of South Africa's sustainability seal, the world's first industry-wide, fully traceable guarantee of production integrity, is now being extended to include certification for ethical labour practices.

By 2016, the plan is for all the country's exporting producers to be independently certified for following fair labour practices, as well as for subscribing to environmentally sustainable wine-growing and production. This will result in one, combined sustainability seal that guarantees both environmental and social sustainability.

At present, the sustainability and ethical seals are independent of each another.