MICHAEL FRIDJHON: The wine industry is in deep crisis
Nine weeks of no turnover has left the wine sector reeling, but what strategy should it pursue to recover?
Even before Covid-19 hit our shores it was clear that the Cape wine industry was sailing into the eye of a storm. Bulk prices, which had been easing their way upwards through the drought years had peaked, and were starting to fall. The domestic market — even pre-Covid-19 — was fragile. Add the impact of the pandemic to what was always going to be a very tough trading year and many estates and wineries are battling for survival.
The exports lost during the first month of lockdown will never come back: as Cape wines vanished off the shelves in the international markets, they were replaced by lines readily available from other, more commercially adept nations. The compound effect on exports will be vastly greater than the one-twelfth of a year’s turnover which evaporated during alert level 5.