Booze ban: Crisis halts SA’s main wine industry event

Nedbank Vinpro Information Day 2021 has been indefinitely postponed. The wine industry body needs ‘all hand on deck’ to weather the crisis caused by an extended, covid-19-related ban on alcohol sales. During the past 15 years the annual event has become the wine industry’s most important for information sharing and strategising

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Organisers of the Nedbank Vinpro Information Day just announced that the biggest annual conference for the South African wine industry has been indefinitely postponed.

The highly anticipated virtual event, which was intended to be a gathering of leaders where the wine industry started picking itself up after a year of shutdowns and losses, was scheduled for Thursday, 21 January 2021. The renewed ban on the sale of alcohol has, however, shifted the industry back into crisis mode.

Vinpro’s communications manager, Jana Loots, confirmed to Food For Mzansi that the difficult decision was made given president Cyril Ramaphosa’s most recent announcement that the Covid-19 ban on local alcohol sales would continue.

Jana Loots, communications manager at Vinpro. Photo: Facebook
Vinpro communications manager Jana Loots. Photo: Facebook

“(Due to) the devastating effect of this on the entire wine value-chain, our team now needs all hands on deck to steer our industry away from this crisis. A new date will be confirmed within the next few months,” Loots said.

The Nedbank Vinpro Information Day usually brings more than 800 delegates together at the CTICC, with Nedbank being involved as the main sponsor and Old Mutual as a co-sponsor. It has happened annually for the past 15 years.

Those attending comprises the full spectrum of the wine value-chain, including wine grape producers, wineries, black-owned wine business owners, suppliers to the industry, financial institutions, students and more.

Registered attendees to be fully reimbursed

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As part of this year’s programme, South African wine businesses would have viewed the state of the industry to equip themselves with insights and tools needed to recover from a devastating 2020. The event was to be hosted by Food For Mzansi co-founder Ivor Price for the second consecutive year.

Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro. Photo: Supplied.
Vinpro MD Rico Basson. Photo: Supplied

In 2020, dubbed one of the toughest years for the wine industry yet, Vinpro MD Rico Basson, expressed his optimism over Mzansi’s wine industry rising up again.

“At the Information Day we will take a look at the direction each individual and business in our value-chain needs to take towards a more robust, competitive, profitable and sustainable industry,” he said then.

Meanwhile, organisers have confirmed that attendees who had already registered will be fully reimbursed. The new date for the event will communicated within the next few months, said Loots. However, registrations have been put on hold until further notice.

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