The South African wine industry is relieved about the latest Covid-19 regulations, according to which wineries may continue to sell wine during licenced trading hours throughout the week.

“We are grateful for the unchanged trading hours for the sale of alcohol for on-consumption as well as the special mention of registered wineries and wine farms which may continue to offer tastings and wine sales to the public for off-site consumption over weekends,” Rico Basson, Vinpro MD says. “This at a time when the wine sector remains under severe financial pressure and is slowly recovering from the adverse effect of the ban on exports and restricted trade earlier this year.

“We believe that the implementation of a more focused approach and targeted interventions in certain hotspot areas will prove to be more effective in curbing the spread of Covid-19, while preserving livelihoods and keeping the economy going,” Basson says.

According to him, these outcomes are aligned with continuous consultation between Vinpro and the respective national government departments and the Western Cape government, as well as a proposal Vinpro made to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, during a consultative session in George on 13 November, highlighting the industry’s vital economic contribution and the crucial role of wine tourism as part of the broader wine and agricultural sectors.

“We share the President’s concern about the new wave of infections, and pledge to do our part in fighting Covid-19,” Basson says. Vinpro made an urgent appeal to individuals and businesses in the sector to do their utmost to implement preventative measures.

“It is our responsibility to keep our people safe and healthy and to give momentum to the economy, while still strictly enforcing the existing safety protocols. Let’s promote safe and responsible production, trade, marketing and consumption together,” he says.