Articles Tagged Wines of South Africa

WOSA’s Response To ‘Bitter Grapes’ Documentary Tastes Like Sour Grapes

Vinted on November 9, 2016 binned in commentary, Uncategorized, wine news

By now, many of you will have heard of, read about, and/or actually watched the documentary Bitter  Grapes, a film that examines harsh conditions for workers in some areas of the South African wine industry.

The Washington Post has an excellent summary of the film, its impacts on the image of South African wine worldwide, and the response by the region’s wine trade:

“Danish journalist Tom Heinemann… found that some workers were allegedly being paid less than the minimum wage, exposed to pesticides, consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol and discouraged from joining unions, among other problems.”

The WP piece also puts the film’s findings in important context: like the USA, South Africa doesn’t exactly have a great humanitarian record when it comes to how farm workers were treated in the past. In more recent history, there was the terrible “dop” system (now illegal), under which S. African workers were paid partially in wine.

I’m not here to discuss the implications of the documentary, though for sure I have opinions on those given my past visits to South Africa’s wine country.

What I want to talk about is the Wines of South Africa (WOSA, the promotional body for the region’s wine business) response to Bitter Grapes. Because their response tastes a lot like sour grapes to me…

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