The Cape wine industry cannot claim to have been in the forefront of transformation. A combination of factors, some structural, some political, and regional inertia — to describe it most kindly — have played a role in this sorry state of affairs. The very nature of the business makes it resistant to change: while the owner’s immediate family can live off the operations, not enough surplus is generated to fund the dividends required for the traditional “transformation-through-profits” model. 

If no-one is going to give away family farms, the alternative involves the brand ownership model. Here there has been some success, not all of it visible in the places where fine wine consumption takes place. This too is a problem: it’s one thing to own a wine brand, it’s an altogether different challenge to get that wine to market. There are now dozens of black-owned brands but only a handful with any visibility...

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