Lock, stock and wine barrel: Liquor during lockdown

Picture: iStock

Liquor sales will only be allowed during Stage 3 of the lockdown and there is no answer as to when that will be.

The push for online sales of wine and craft distillers during the national lockdown – that keeps getting extended – is reaching a mass. But whether you can soon order your favourite wines online and get it delivered is not clear yet.

Managing director of VinPro Rico Basson, for example, was elated that as of 1 May the South African wine industry could start exporting again, and wineries allowed to continue winemaking practices under new work-environment regulations.

But he’s one of the many people involved in the industry confused why there are no ways wine can be traded with minimal contact – like online ordering and delivering.

Right now if you use MrD and UberEats, an option like leaving items at the door is part of the process, and wine deliveries wouldn’t stray from it.

The prohibition is hurting the industry, and although exports help, just like in SA, many ports are closed – meaning that even that trade will not be like before.

The worst blow is that in 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that over 20% of the South African liquor trade was illicit – and now this prohibition is helping that trade fester further.

The worst part – Basson and a few key players believe – is that around 80 boutique or small wine producers could go under if they’re not supported. The wine industry in South Africa is not only driven by sales, but wine tourism is a key part, and one of the ways estates and smaller producers make income.

So far, liquor sales – including wine – will only be allowed during Stage 3 of the lockdown and there is no answer as to when that will be. Supporting wine producers by buying online now can help – but when you’ll be able to drink the fruits of their labour, well, the answer is: who knows.

Who even knows if the brand will still be around?

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