Nederburg Auction speaker and wine economist Mike Veseth yesterday suggested that assembled winemakers, buyers and the media invite Americans to embrace the true meaning of the braai if they want to crack the US market. Fair comment as Mike arrived in SA on national braai day.
WOSA has been singing from this charred hymn sheet for several years now and the result has been a dramatic decline of bottled wine exports in favour of bulk shipments. But let’s face it, burnt meat and bulk wine are pretty well matched so SA producers got what they deserved by falling for a canny strategy from an organization that exits on a volume rather than a value dependent levy. As an economist, Mike knows that.
But then as one producer told me at a braai on his Devon Valley farm on Friday “we sell wine all over the world and have worldwide listings on airlines and WOSA did not help me sell one bottle.” Perhaps he should consider the bulk business as his braai was bonza.
In the same way that UK bottlings put SA label designers, glass makers, mobile bottlers and cork suppliers out of business, so too does the braai undermine the raison d’être of chefs, sommeliers and the whole restaurant scene. SA fine dining is dead. Toss it on the braai. Talk to me about “meat free Mondays” why don’tya!
But what do you expect when national heritage day gets replaced with national braai day? The braai sure has a powerful attraction for rednecks and others as the frontispiece of Puurst, the 3D cookbook from Michelin *** chef Jonny and Thérèse Boer (shown above) confirms. It features a “best duty made in South Africa” black potjie overflowing with terroir ingredients. All that’s missing is a bottle of 2009 Brenaissance King of Clubs Cabernet made by Tom and Haley Breytenbach. With Breytenbach the poet passé, Breytenbach the braaimeister has legs. The king is dead, long live the king!
I am no flag-waving WOSA defender, but to say that your wine sells internationally and”WOSA did not help me sell one bottle” is a bit ignorant.
A bit like saying that advertising doesn’t affect you.
True, WOSA could be doing things more intelligently at times, but any time that they do something that raises the profile or awareness of SA wine they are contributing that Devon Valley producer’s sales, as much as he may like to deny it.