The South African wine industry says the allegations made by certain labour groups that wine grape producers are using illegal pesticides that are harmful to farm workers are unfounded. This follows the release of an Oxfam Germany article, titled ‘Gift auf Wein – das lass sein!’, as well as a rally by Women on Farms Project on the issue in Cape Town today.
The South African wine industry has one of the most sophisticated systems in the world that regulates and traces wine grape production practices and the products used, namely the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme. According to a joint statement by the wine industry bodies Vinpro and Wines of South Africa (WoSA), the Oxfam report mentions a total of 67 ‘illegal’ products, of which only 18 may be used, when necessary, on wine grapes in South Africa. The remaining 49 mentioned products are registered for use on other crops – not wine grapes.
“Every single one of the 18 products are registered by the Department of Agriculture and IPW prohibits the use of any unregistered products, in accordance with South African legislation. All of the grapes used in the production of IPW certified wines must be 100% IPW certified and current figures show that 94% of all South African vineyards are IPW certified,” says the report.
The wine industry bodies Vinpro and WoSA have indicated that they are open to constructive dialogue on the matter with the relevant parties.