The board of the Company of Wine People, lovingly abbreviated to COWPEE, had big gorilla boots to fill when Hermann Böhmer vacated the CEO’s La-Z-Boy recliner in April. Their choice of Eduan Steynberg (below) confirms that they take the cow connection seriously as Ed has recently set up an investment company in India, a country for whom the cow is sacred.
At last SA can start to take fellow BRICSA nation and the world’s second most populous market seriously – probably the largest market, as Indian demographics are notoriously dodgy. Marketing SA wine in India got off to a tricky start when the DTI funded two dozen SA producers at a food and wine exhibition in New Delhi three years ago. Alas, most of the DTI seed did not bear fruit as winemakers were reluctant to follow up leads after becoming infected with fleas. The future is unclear with India conspicuously absent from the 2012 WOSA budget, which concentrates most cash on English speaking markets.
It’s always been a mystery why SA should lag Chile in wine exports to the subcontinent when the last century’s greatest Indian, Mahatma Gandhi, spent a formative part of his life in SA and according to some sources, was the country in which he met the love of his life, the hunky German-Jewish bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach. Another Hermann. But then perhaps having Athol Fugard kick you out of a “whites only” train carriage in Sir Dickie Attenborough’s filmic treatment, is an insult too much for even a Great Soul to bear. The legacy of Apartheid lingers.