Now that the Franschhoek Literary Festival has put the RM Williams into the goolies of SA wine writing by wastepaperbasketing the 20 entries for the annual Franschhoek Wine Writers Prize this year, it looks like SA wine will increasingly have to rely on the likes of Guy Collins who writes on SA wine for Bloomberg from London. Picked up yesterday by Business Day in a major spread “SA wine industry set to beat export record” his numbers are more of a joke than the stats of corked wines at the recent Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
The sub-headline crows “growers raise a glass to another good year with exports rising 496 million litres” except the total volume was 460.9 million litres so the previous figure must have been -35.1 million litres. Perhaps consumers returning corked bottles?
Reading the story it seems Guy relied on information supplied by WOSA, that long-running excuse for an SA generic marketing body, who think that a fall in bottled exports is “a positive trend.” He quotes 4.28 million bottles exported to China in 2011 when last year’s figure of 7.69 million would be more useful. The 4.28 million bottles quotes for 2011 in more likely 4.366 million litres and likewise the Nigerian numbers are out of date and wrong.
The whole story is cynically misleading claiming the UK took 22% of total exports last year when reality is 20%. Does a 10% difference matter? Yes, when WOSA spend most of their budget in the UK and desperately try to spin themselves into relevancy. Once again, WOSA is playing fast and loose with the facts and the result is to discredit SA wine. But at least it’s now foreign wine writers who will be left with scrambled egg on their faces if editors believe the esteemed (sic) judges of the Franschhoek Literary Festival.