Russia takes interest in SA's black winemakers

A group of Russian businesspeople are in South Africa as part of government efforts to boost black winemakers.

Fourteen black winemakers based in the Western Cape and another based in Eastern Cape are attending a session organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in Cape Town.

The Russian Wine Inward Buying Mission is a government initiatives aimed at changing the patterns of ownership in the local wine industry, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe.

“This inward buying mission is one of the initiatives aimed at changing the patterns of ownership, participation and management control in the wine industry in favour of previously disadvantaged people.

“This initiative seeks to increase exports of South African wines to the Russian market and simultaneously contribute to our transformation efforts within the wine industry,” said Deputy Minister Magwanishe on Monday.

Monday was day one of the four-day Russian Inward Buying Mission at the Invest South Africa Western Cape One Stop Shop. The opening session was attended by Russian wine buyer Andre Kuzmin, who is the CEO of leading Russian wine buying company, Marine Express. 

The mission is a result of a meeting Deputy Minister Magwanishe had with Kuzmin on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia in June. Their engagement centred on increasing South Africa’s exports of wines into the Russia market.

“The specific objective of our engagement was to create market access for black-owned wine companies. I am happy that black and women-owned winemakers are key stakeholders in this mission. With more targeted missions like this, radical economic transformation will be achieved and applied more practically,” said the Deputy Minister.

The mission will go a long way in maximising linkages between the primary and secondary productive sectors of the economy.

“Wine production, as part of agro-processing, is a priority sector identified in our Industrial Policy Action Plan. As government, we remain in pursuit of a constructive drive to overcome key constraints affecting manufacturing-led and value-added growth,” said Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

The South African wine industry has grown exponentially, with exports having more than doubled between 2005 and 2016. It has created 300 000 direct and indirect jobs.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, General Bheki Cele, said the two departments will continue to work together to support the primary and secondary levels of the wine industry. - SAnews.gov.za