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The impact of Coronavirus lockdown regulations on wine (updated)

By , 26 March 2020



Government has just issued the Amendment of Regulations of the Disaster Management Act, which has confirmed the worst possible news for the South African wine industry.  In summary, only food products (including non-alcoholic beverages) are listed as essential and seemingly the intent is that any manufacturing and trade of alcoholic products will have to cease during the lockdown. The notice specifically states that there will be no sales of any alcohol in the South African market within the 21-day period.

Producer body Vinrpo is busy with an urgent application to Government to allow the following dispensations for the wine and brandy industry, namely that completion of this year’s harvest be completed and that a prohibition on the export of wine be lifted.

Update – 27 March 2020: The Government last night released amendments go the Disaster Management act, the key section affecting the wine industry being that the following has been added to the list of essential services:

“Harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural goods.”

“Our interpretation of this amendment is that the wine industry would be allowed to complete the harvest and also the necessary cellar processes to ensure that the crop is not ‘wasted’. Agri-workers that are required to harvest grapes and/or to operate as cellar workers, will be considered essential workers, during the lockdown period,” says Christo Conradie, manager of wine cellars at Vinpro.


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