More burnt aromas for SA wine in the UK

The headlines in today’s Guardian do not make pleasant reading for WOSA, the body battling to market SA wine overseas.  “South Africa: striking workers burn vineyards in protest over ‘hunger wages’.”  The vineyards in question are those of table grape producers in the Hex River Valley and reading the story, it seems that one factor in the current wave of labour unrest is pressure from seasonal workers from as far afield as Somalia.  Minimum wages are quoted at R69.39 per day so clearly workers have grounds for complaint.

arson 300x233 More burnt aromas for SA wine in the UK

I have a progressive friend who makes powerful Pinotage in the Devon Valley of Stellenbosch and he pays his workers R400 a day which is more than a Hex River arsonist gets in a week.  Correction, he pays his labour broker R400 a day of which each worker gets R120 or only twice the Liewe Heksie rate.  Interested observers will be scanning the horizon for wild fires to see if WOSA’s investment of R1.5 million this year in WIETA – the ethical trading initiative – will have any effect at all on damping this tinderbox in the vineyards.  Or was the money for parties, consultants and travel as with so many other initiatives in the Winelands?  Perhaps FairtradeSA would like to comment?