Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, leading retailer Shoprite has purchased more than 1.5 million litres of wine from farms in a bid to ease the burden brought on by the pandemic.
Shoprite says global import and export restrictions, a struggling local economy, and multiple Covid-19-induced liquor bans have left many farms sitting on massive wine volumes with over 300 million litres languishes in warehouses and cellars.
To rescue the drowning wine industry, they decided to create a new exclusive private label wine brand known as Elephant’s Cousin. Much like the supermarket’s popular Odd Bins range, the exact origin of the wine is kept secret to ensure it remains both affordable and accessible.
Shoprite has indicated that the limited label will exist only for as long as there are large quantities of surplus wine available. This recent move will help wine farms move surplus stock more rapidly without a route to market, whereas the knock-on effect of this unsold excess would have been devastating for the industry.
This unprecedented bulk purchase of wines is the latest move by Shoprite and Checkers to help support the South African wine industry, which employs some 350,000 people and contributes almost R10 billion (US$665.2 million) to the local economy.
In October last year Checkers launched its “Pour it for your country” campaign to voice its support for local wine producers. Pick n Pay has also commitment to purchase 25 million bottles of wine in 2021 to support the industry.