Wine industry growing responsibly

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is celebrating 20 years of international trade with an animated video showcasing how far the wine industry has advanced since its re-admission to world trade in the 1990s.

The video also commemorates a record year of wine exports in 2013, as well as advances in quality and sustainability. In 1993, South Africa exported close to 24,5 million litres of wine. The following year, with the opening up of international trade, volumes sold off-shore doubled to almost 50 million litres. In the two decades since then, exports have risen more than tenfold to 525,7 million litres in 2013, reaching around 140 countries.

In addition to this, South Africa managed to set aside more than 130 000ha in the Cape Winelands for restoration to indigenous habitat. The combined area devoted to conservation is already significantly more than the size of the ‘national vineyard’, which measures just over 100 000ha. The focus on eco-friendly production led to the introduction of South Africa’s sustainability seal in 2010 – the world’s first industry-wide, fully traceable guarantee of production integrity – which is now being extended to include certification for ethical labour practices.

It is hoped that by 2016 all the country’s exporting producers will be independently certified for following fair labour practices, as well as for subscribing to environmentally sustainable wine-growing and production. This will result in one, combined sustainability seal that guarantees both environmental and social sustainability. At present, the sustainability and ethical seals are independent of each another.