The Wine Arc – The Start of a New Beginning

Monday, 29 November, 2021
SA Wine Industry and Transformation Unit
The launch of The Wine Arc on 11 November 2021 signifies the start of a new beginning and growth prospects for black-owned brands.

Thirteen brands, which are Aslina Wines, Bayede!, Cape Dreams, Carmen Stevens Wines, Koni Wines, La Ricmal, Libby’s Pride Wines, M’Hudi Wines, Paardenkloof Wines, Ses’fikele Wines, The Bridge of Hope Wines, Tesselaarsdal Wines and Thokozani Wines will be participating in the pilot programme that will kick off in December 2021. In his welcome address, the chairman of the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU), Mr Tshililo Ronald Ramabulana said that this is the first step to cementing the black-owned brands in the wine industry.

Carmen Stevens, speaking on behalf of the participating black-owned brands stated that The Wine Arc symbolizes three turning points in the industry. “This brand home symbolizes the end of more than two decades of not having a home in the South African wine industry. It is a retail space that is friendly and accommodating and provides prospects of growth and opportunity for our brands”. Stevens further mentioned that The Wine Arc represents the past, present and future for black-owned brands in the country. Ms Joyene Isaacs, Chairperson of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) said that economic development is crucially important and we all need to think differently and creatively and get our hands dirty moving forward, because the challenges we are faced with on a daily basis, demand it of us. “The ARC has R12 billion in infrastructure and we need to figure out how to use it to the benefit of all South Africans. Creative partnerships such as the one with SAWITU provides the creative space for people to come into the ARC”, said Isaacs. In her congratulations to the black-owned brands, she challenged them to be unapologetic about making money via The Wine Arc and complemented the SAWITU Board for creating this platform for black-owned brands, not only in the Western Cape, but across the country.

In his address, Dr Ivan Meyer, MEC for Agriculture in the Western Cape mentioned the importance of the five priorities he identified since taking office. One of them is market access and since wine is one of the single biggest export commodities for South Africa, Dr Meyer recommitted their support by signing a continuation funding agreement for The Wine Arc E Commerce platform upon conclusion of his speech. “The Wine Arc creates optimism and worth for black-owned brands and our collaboration makes it real”, said Dr Meyer. Ms Thoko Didiza, National Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development honored the champions in industry who have played key roles in the transformation of the wine industry, one of which is Jabulani Ntshangase, a pioneer in the wine industry. She thanked Mrs Wendy Petersen, Operations Manager of SAWITU, for her resilience, capacity to take the blows and the tenacity to stay on the course. “We need to build an inclusive industry, although we recognize the need for supporting black-owned brands and therefore the direct focus on them. However, we need to move to total inclusivity within the wine industry. At the end of the day, irrespective if you’re from a big corporate or a small winery, it’s all about wine!”

Didiza stressed the importance of working with provincial counterparts in government to increase market access on the African continent and abroad and make sure South African wines captures the markets. The wine brands went through a stringent process of scrutiny on different levels which included commercial, marketing and technical 360 evaluation to ensure their preparedness for this programme. During the technical evaluation the brands were tasted blind against current competitor products in the market, and the brands rated high during these assessments, emphasizing the quality of the wines which will be presented on this platform.

Malcolm Green, co-owner of La Ricmal, commented on the remarkable standard of The Wine Arc facility. “La Ricmal is humbled to be chosen as one of the thirteen brands and be making history in South Africa. It took a lot of people to do this for us and there are no words to thank them properly. It is not about rands and cents, it’s about much more, and we are grateful.”

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(@WITURSA), Twitter (@witu_sa) or LinkedIn (SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit).