Below is a post that some of you will already have seen either in the media or through a recent AWE mailing. All I would add to it is that a key part of this initiative is to try to get the #myfavouritesouthafricanwines message out to the public, who actually buy the wines, not just to our trade friends on Twitter! So do please spread the word to your public database, your students and all friends over the age of 18.

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I suspect that all of us were shocked by Bruce Jack’s powerful article for The Buyer last week in which he explains the current desperate situation facing South African wine producers

http://www.the-buyer.net/opinion/bruce-jack-covid-19-devastating-impact-on-south-africa/

I have no particular allegiance to South African wines over any others but have gained such huge enjoyment from so many of their wines in recent years that it breaks my heart to hear how their vineyard could be permanently diminished by the present oversupply – and that they have been disproportionately disadvantaged by the pandemic because of the actions of their government.

Although not a permanent solution, we can help create space in wine tanks by buying South African wines, depleting current stocks and encouraging retailers to reorder (exports are permitted). Under the hashtag #myfavouritesouthafricanwines, I propose that we all post, on whichever social media channels we use, our favourite South African wines – ideally 3 or 4 wines with a broad range of producers, retailers and price points. And that, at the same time, we encourage others to post as well under the same hashtag. As Bruce makes clear, the need is urgent as the new harvest is already starting, so we need to start immediately.

Simultaneously I will be writing to the key UK retailers of South African wine asking them what they think they might be able to do to help the Cape wine industry. I am fully aware that it is hard for them to react quickly to this sort of crisis, but there is no harm trying. If you are supporting the social media initiative above, please let me know – it will strengthen our argument with the retailers if they know you are backing it.

Finally, I hope to organise an online auction to raise funds, either for Bruce’s charity or for another, that can support the countless families usually employed by the wine industry in the Cape and who are the real victims of the current situation. Once I have further details, I will let you know unless you would prefer me not to. An unexpected but useful learning from a conversation with Bruce last week was that a donation of 10p equates to 2 rand which can buy 1 simple meal. So we really can make a difference.

Thanks for the support!

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