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Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Statement on documentary focused on working conditions in some South African vineyards

"It will take time, but the reality is that change is taking place, even despite many wine farmers running their businesses on very tight margins"
October 31, 2016

WOSA's official statement in response to the documentary:

The South African wine industry has come a long way in recent years to work together in order to improve the sustainability of one of its biggest assets - the workers. Whilst we recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done, there are numerous programmes that include social upliftment, housing, land reform, education, skills and medical care for farm workers and their families. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of bodies such as WIETA and Fairtrade, there are regular audits across the board that support and encourage positive change with regular audits, however these changes simply cannot happen overnight. It will take time, but the reality is that change is taking place, even despite many wine farmers running their businesses on very tight margins.

What is needed now is more support of the industry, instead of boycotting it. Each liter of wine sold at the right price point contributes to the successful growth of the industry, which directly translates into a flourishing industry where all its stakeholders, including its workers, are supported. Increased sales of higher priced wines bottled in South Africa will generate better profit margins and have a direct influence in the well being of these farming communities and should be encouraged across the board.

WOSA (Wines of South Africa) is the promoter of South African wines’ image abroad, with representation across the globe. Its main focus being generic marketing, Wosa’s actions include research and frequent communication to exporter-members, liaison with international wine media and other export-related stakeholders, as well as participation in major wine expos world-wide.


Job Creation: South Africa exports 4% of world wine exports, and has created about 300,000 jobs in the South African wine industry. The industry's labor to capital ratio – meaning the amount of jobs created per R1 million ($73,000) invested – is at 4.64, which exceeds the agricultural average of 4.54, as well as that of the national economy at 2.94.

WIETA: The Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) is an initiative created to drive ethical trade in the South African wine industry. Workers protection is the highest aspiration of the WIETA code and more than 45,000 agricultural workers benefited in 2015 from improved living and working conditions? as a result of WIETA efforts.

Fairtrade: South Africa boasts impressive ethical certification figures as the world’s foremost producer of Fairtrade wine. South Africa produces more than 66% of all wine sold globally under the Fairtrade label.

At least 20% of industry funds obtained through statutory levies – at a value of around R22 million (USD $ 1.6 million) – are reserved for transformation efforts (empowering formerly disadvantages workers), which are coordinated by a Transformation Unit.

Enterprise development: At present there are at least 44 black economic development initiatives wine grape properties, representing an estimated 2 500 ha, at an average market value of R200 000 per hectare.

Ownership: There are at present around 37 black-owned wine brands in the industry. 

Family Support: 886 children monitored at child development and aftercare facilities 


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