Over the past 17 years the wheels of BEE have turned with increasing momentum in the South African wine industry, with the wine community becoming involved in empowerment projects. Government and agricultural industries have also supported the transformation of the sector leading to a growing number of agribusinesses owned by previously disadvantaged individuals.
The quantities and quality of emerging agribusinesses’ produce is also improving extremely well. Needless to say, social accountability extends beyond fair labour practices to a transfer of skills and, ultimately, ownership in an industry that has historically been white-owned.
There are now a number of black-owned wine ventures in South Africa, as well as others structured to become entirely black owned over time, with shareholding financed from profits.
Transformation is also occurring across the value chain, with preferential procurement initiatives encouraging long-established members of the industry to use BEE suppliers. What are some of the major challenges the BEE winemakers are facing and how can these be overcome?