Winemakers are attempting to strong-arm government into allowing them to continue producing.
VinPro – which represents close to 2 600 South African wine producers, on Tuesday filed an urgent interdict application in the Western Cape High Court.
The group says government’s strategy to ban alcohol nationally is unnecessary and unjustified.
It wants the court to allow the Western Cape to have its own alcohol rules.
The Western Cape accounts for more than 70% of the country’s wine production.
Vinpro’s Rico Basson says a large number of their wine producers and wineries are small, and are reliant on direct sales to customers.
He adds that with no financial support from government for these businesses, their prospects, and that of employees, are extremely bleak.
“Vinpro is not saying restrictions are not justified when hospitals and particularly trauma units are under pressure. However, we believe that not only has the wrong level of government been dealing with the retail sale of liquor during the national state of disaster, but government has repeatedly implemented nationwide bans which are overbroad, unnecessary, unjustified and, indeed, counter-productive”.
Meanwhile, Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Ivan Meyer, says he wants wine to be sold online and delivered to consumers using courier services.
Meyer has written a letter to his national counterpart, Thoko Didiza, to amend the current lockdown regulations.
The MEC says the current regulations will have a negative impact on the industry.
His spokesperson Daniel Johnson says there are other key areas where the transportation of wine should be allowed.
“The transport of wine samples, the transport of wine by tourists, and the transport of wine to bottling plants and storage. Wine is the third biggest export product of the Western Cape economy and contributes 6,5% to the province’s exports”.