SA Vinegar exports boom


There is good news and there is bad news. The good tidings are that SA vinegar exports are up from just over 1 million litres to almost 5 million in the year to June. Which is no reflection on high VA in some SA wines that caused a moment at the judging of the Nedbank Green Awards yesterday. And they hadn’t even got to the organic and biodynamic awards which are judged today, where high VA can be a stylistic feature.

sos SA Vinegar exports boom

With the feisty Anel Grobler of Spit or Swallow fame and the gifted Tom Magara of the RECM Best Value Awards on the panel as “blogging judges”, let’s hope we end up with a bit of diversity in the results and not just a replay of last year’s snoozy selection. In fact one judge said Reyneke Wines weren’t entering this year as they’re tired of winning. I do hope the blogger scores count the same as mainstream judges and we don’t end up with a cop out, some bodged blogger award or other. Although I for one would love to try the wine that tasted of pistachio nuts that Anel found. Would go very well with a bacon butty at Truth Coffee.

The bad news is that the bulk 25,000 litre SA export balloon seems to have burst. White exports are down 10% or 24 million litres. Reds are up slightly by 3% or 5 million litres which is not enough to make up for the white meltdown. With Russia #4 export destination for SA wine and trade with the Red Bear problematic at the minute, things can only get worse. Unless the SA currency comes to the rescue and melts down. How will WOSA spin this, I wonder?

Amusing to read UK commentator Tim Atkin argue against bulk wine in his recent WOSA-funded report on SA wine, saying there’s no future in it. Is this the same guru who argued for bulk exports to Blighty back in 2009, advising readers of The Observer “to buy wines that are shipped to the UK in bulk, something which is favoured by many large New World producers, especially those that supply cut-price own-label wines to supermarkets.” Be careful what you wish for, as St. Teresa of Avila wisely pointed out.