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Two international conferences which were held back to back recently, revealed important trends and policy developments affecting wine trade.

FIVS (Federation Internationale des Vins et Spiritueux) – a global trade federation focusing on public policy changes af-fecting the global alcohol beverage industry – presented a policy conference in April, followed by an intercessional meet-ing by the WWTG (World Wine Trade Group), an informal association focused on networking and information sharing be-tween mainly new world wine producing countries on issues of common interest.

“Many of the trends and policy frameworks discussed at these conferences have a direct bearing on the South African wine industry,” said Rico Basson, VinPro managing director who attended the conferences on behalf of the wine industry, along with Kurt Moore, CEO of Salba (South African Liquor Brandowners’ Association) and representatives from Govern-ment.

The reservation of traditional terms such as “classic”, “reserve” and “grand reserve” for exclusive use by European Union (EU) countries was for example debated at the WWTG meeting, and will be taken up further with the EU. Other issues dis-cussed at the two sessions included sustainability and a planned pilot project of the EU to define aspects surrounding “green environment”.

World Health Organisation (Who) trends indicate strong global pressure to restrict alcohol use by means of restricting availability, increasing price through taxation and restricting advertising. The substantial global impact of illicit trade was also discussed, as well as the content of labelling, specifically with regard to health aspects of wine.

The next WWTG meeting will be held in August 2014 in Georgia, which will be attended by representatives of Salba and the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (NDAFF).

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