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As Beijing goes sour on Australia, Tassies could join Tsingtao on Chinese menus.
As Beijing goes sour on Australia, Tassies could join Tsingtao on Chinese menus.
Image: 123RF/JEKA 81

SA winemakers may have cracked the biggest future market of all, if The Times of London is to be believed.

China whacked a 212% duty on Australian wines in 2020 in the wake of Aussie leader Scott Morrison saying he supported calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus.

In other words, did the virus really hop over to humans from a bat or a pangolin in that Wuhan market, mate, or was there something more sinister going on in your labs?

Still, unlike the clarinet, which funny guy Bob Hope said was an ill wind that nobody blew good, that fat China tariff may be blowing a welcome breeze into the sails of SA claret. 

There are some caveats, though. Chinese consumers prefer corks to screw caps, whites are apparently eschewed in favour of reds (red being a lucky colour) and labels should have lots of red, gold and silver on them.

It remains to be seen if SA wine sales to China will reach the lofty heights of the $1bn Australia earned in 2019. Last year’s figures showed SA’s wine exports to China of about $31m, so there is a way to go.

So far so good. Just as long as SA keeps things sweet with a country that is known for enjoying the odd tipple and that neither our politicians nor the Stellenbosch mafia screw (cap) things up. Gan bei,” then — which means “bottoms up” in Mandarin.

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