Wine Industry Strategic Exercise WISE
Transformation – a unique and pertinent challenge facing the wine industry – is one of the key components of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise). Now the pace is picking up.
Transformation – priority areas announced
To sustainably accelerate the pace of transformation, the Wine Industry Transformation Committee has been established to strategically consider, debate, consult and approve the allocation of the 20% portion of the wine statutory levies that are made available for transformation in the industry. This committee is chaired by the head of department at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Joyene Isaacs, while key industry stakeholders including black wine businesses are also represented.
The next priority is the development of an industry transformation plan which will receive inputs and buy-in from all stakeholders and which will build on successful existing initiatives while fast tracking priority areas. VinPro’s manager of transformation and development, Johan Giliomee, explains that this plan should not just be a paper exercise, but that the focus will be on providing practical solutions linked to realistic targets. Also key in the approach will be to communicate and engage with stakeholders proactively throughout the process.
The transformation plan will be developed around a number of priority areas where clear objectives will be set.
BEE scorecard compliance
Role players with a turnover of more than R5 million need to comply with the AgriBEE scorecard, which measures transformation compliance in terms of key transformation elements. Compliance with this legislation will be a key part of the plan, while enterprise development is a particularly important focus area for the wine industry.
The sensitive topic of land reform has made headlines in the media and demands a sense of urgency. This work stream will comprise an overview of the current status of land reform, as well as a practical framework, providing guidelines going forward. A district pilot project will be one of the objectives of this Wise initiative, to set an example for other projects to follow suit. There are currently 52 land reform farms in the industry which are at different stages of development and it is important to ensure the sustainability of these farms while also establishing new black owned farms.
Black owned brands and wine businesses
Besides capital to grow their operations, black owned brands and wine businesses also need better access to opportunities across the value chain while being supported through partnerships with bigger business. The industry needs to place a stronger focus on establishing and assisting black entrepreneurs, allowing them to grow into fully fledged, commercial operations.
Corporate social investment (CSI)
While there are already numerous, inspiring examples of corporate social investment across different South African wine regions, the Wise process will focus particularly on promoting an industry-wide, collective approach.
To ensure that transformation efforts realise their full potential, it has been suggested that funding benefiting wine industry transformation – including CASP funding from the Department of Agriculture – be utilised for collective, centralised projects.
The South African wine industry is in the process of developing a new strategic framework aimed at improving competitiveness and coherence through, inter alia, more focused communication and an industry-wide governance structure.