Why we should all be drinking South African right now

Kanonkop Estate with Table Mountain in the background. Photo by Kevin Crause

Here at Club Oenologique we champion wines regardless of provenance; we enjoy them moderately but enthusiastically, as a source of huge enjoyment, conversation and debate.

We like to think of wine as a force for good, a conduit for bringing people together. But right now, in South Africa, it is divisive. The country’s wine producers, distributors and retailers are facing their second crisis of the year, as the government bans all alcohol sales for the forseeable future. This is after it halted all exports for five weeks in March, at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest measure is also COVID-related, ostensibly aimed at cutting back on hospital admissions to treat alcohol-related injuries, thereby freeing up time for coronavirus cases (though the South African wine trade’s chequered history with its government – as outlined in our story back in April – hints at a deeper-lying anti-alcohol stance). We believe that most wine lovers consume wine responsibly and moderately: over-indulgence in premium wines is not generally a cause of hospital admissions. We certainly don’t believe that wineries producing carefully crafted, agricultural products should suffer because of the irresponsibility of a minority of consumers who give no thought to the alcohol they consume, or because of the blanket agenda of a hostile government.

With that in mind, we will happily admit to championing South African wines a little more vociferously than others. We encourage all our readers to support the Cape’s winemakers by turning to their country’s wide array of fine wines in the days and weeks ahead and to #drinksouthafrican. Here are just ten to consider…