Association Leader Talks South African Wine With Financial Site


This past Friday Rico Basson, head of South African wine association VinPro, talked with reporter Andries van Zyl about the state or the South African industry.
Parts of the interview focused on VinPro, but there were several sections in the question-and-answer session which provided the average wine drinker some valuable insight into the South African wine world.
Basson told van Zyl one of the most important factors in South Africa’s wine industry is the matter of quality.
“I think the most important opportunity for the industry lies in the quality of the product, and the quality that is further added to almost every year,” he said.
That quality can help the country’s international standing which, Basson said, has increased as the result of a lot of hard work. However, he said, it’s time for the industry to consolidate their overseas position and make a bigger push. 
“I think the market place is part of the answer,” he said. “Specifically new markets like America, the strengthening of the position in Canada, and then of course the cluster of Africa and China.” 
Free trade agreements – New World pal Australia has made big strides with this – would be a big boost for the industry.
Basson went on to say his organization is focusing their efforts on developing the talent of participants up and down the wine industry’s supply chain.
“An issue we’re focusing on at the moment is skills development. I think it stays a challenge,” he said. “There are already very good results from farm to management level. We see transformation … as an opportunity.”
Basson said land reform is another important cog in the South African wine industry machine. The difficulty, he said, has been choosing the right model of land reform measures which can benefit the agriculture industry at large and the wine industry chain.
“I think we learned from our failures and successes in the past, we have a very good idea of which models not to follow, but we also know there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution,” he said.
Basson noted that part of the land reform includes the ever important issue of water and land acquisition.
“Access to land and water, especially new opportunities, are also very important,” Basson said. 
Van Zyl concluded the interview by asking Basson what the future looks like for South African wines. 
“Wine tourism is a big driving factor for us, and I think there are still many opportunities within that sector for empowerment and on a commercial level as well,” Basson said.

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