Raise a Glass To: Rico Basson, Vinpro & the South African wine industry

Tuesday, 21 July, 2020
The Buyer, Richard Siddle
The Covid-19 pandemic has for so many people around the world been the most challenging and damaging time both in their working and their personal lives. But it has also been a uniquely inspiring few months as individuals and businesses have stepped up to the mark and gone way and beyond to help others in their industry get through this extraordinary period.

Those are the people The Buyer wants to highlight and show our appreciation for in our new ‘Raise a Glass To’ series where we can all collectively stop and pay our respects to their achievements and actions during the pandemic. Starting here today with Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro, who has led the South African wine industry through its huge difficulties during the lockdown.

Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro, is the first to receive The Buyer’s new ‘Raise a Glass To’ award on behalf of the South African wine industry.

Around the world every country has had to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in their own way, taking different approaches in how they have locked down its people in order to safeguard their health and stop the spread of the virus.

The global wine industry has surprisingly been arguably one of the least affected as the vast majority of wine producing countries saw the production, distribution and selling of wine as an ‘essential service’. With one big exception. South Africa.

The country’s wine industry is now in a desperate state after a series of national lockdowns has brought many producers to their knees and the fear that hundreds could close, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

This, however, is not through any lack of effort, or combined action, to make the industry’s case to the government. In fact it was through the direct lobbying of the South African wine authorities, led by Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro, the association that represents over 2,500 of the country’s grape growers and producers, in partnership with its other chief agricultural bodies and Wines of South Africa, that the initial wine lockdown was lifted.

That was first implemented on March 27, when the South African government banned the total production, movement, distribution, exporting and selling of wine and alcohol.

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