A WhatsApp message sent out to members of the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rassa) last week, requesting them to urgently complete a survey, has again underlined the financial crisis facing not only restaurants but the wine industry as a whole.
Wendy Alberts, CEO of Rassa, says the association is busy with a high-level, structured plan with major industry stakeholders to legally assist its pleas to lift the alcohol ban and to support an application in the High Court to get the liquor ban lifted.
“Through these surveys, we collect data which is imperative to fighting our cause. We will be creating the link between the loss of alcohol sales to restaurants closing their doors driven through the result of the alcohol ban and, secondly, the impact of curfew to turnover,” Alberts says.
Last year December – even before the adjusted level three restrictions came into effect – James Vos, Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management at the City of Cape Town, acknowledged that wine tourism in the Western Cape had been hard hit by the lockdown restrictions.
“No doubt the measures put in place to combat Covid-19 seriously impacted the wine industry in Cape Town, specifically as alcohol was banned and wine exports were brought to a halt,” Vos said.
Speaking at the launch of Groot Constantia’s new gift shop located inside the wine estate’s tasting room on Tuesday 15 December, Vos took the opportunity to introduce the Western Cape department of Agriculture’s Wine Tourism Worker Support Stipend. The R12 million support fund aims to assist those who are experiencing financial strain due to the pandemic.
“The relief fund will be able to allocate R3 000 to each employee on a monthly basis for three months starting from December 2020 and ending in February 2021. Each winery may claim for a maximum of 10 employees,” Vos said.
Going forward, he said the City, together with its official destination marketing organisation, Cape Town Tourism, was developing marketing strategies to position Cape Town as an ideal destination for wine experiences and connecting it with community-based tourism offerings such as townships. “This is to ensure we push tourism to all corners of our beautiful city and to spread the benefits to all communities,” Vos added.
Jean Naudé, CEO of Groot Constantia, believes the new shop at the estate is an example of how both small and large role players in the tourism industry can work together to the benefit of both. Through the new gift shop, the wine estate is supporting local entrepreneurs, artists and designers to assist in building up the local economy.
The gift shop showcases unique work from talented local entrepreneurs, artists, designers, and craftsmen.