The annual judging of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show provides a snapshot of what is happening at the upper end of the Cape wine industry. While many of the smaller and more geeky producers, and some of the bigger ones who fear that an adverse result (in other words, anything less than a gold medal) might cause reputational damage, do not enter, the competition is largely representative of the country’s fine wine sector. This makes a review of what was tasted a few weeks back a pretty good barometer of how things are.

Judging from the decline in the number of wines entered (10% down compared with 2020) it is clear that producers are still battling to recover from the government’s ill-considered (and possibly malicious) lockdowns of the liquor industry. There is now ample data to suggest it is not the restrictions on the sale of alcohol that reduce trauma admissions but the restrictions on movement. If there are fewer people getting about, and if they are forced to return home...

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