When the tablecloth is pulled over the table mountain in south africa, it is according to the legend a battle between good and evil Here in the Western Cape province another battle is going on Because the Scandinavian consumers are thrilled about the cheap, good quality wine The imports are growing and growing Since 2006 the import of South African wine has increased by 78 % in Denmark In Sweden, South African wine is the number three topseller.
More than 50 million liters of south african wine are enjoyed here in the nordic countries We went to South Africa to investigate if the wine we cherish so much has been produced under decent conditions for the workers and for the environment. And there is an eye on us. The same day that we arrived on our third trip to South Africa, this message was circulated to more than 130 people from the wine industry: HEADS UP: It has been brought under our attention that there are an international man and woman doing their rounds on the farms. () They are asking unethical questions to workers and changing the angle to a negative. Be careful and avoid where possible. Every morning between six and six thirty hundreds of farm workers are collected in the outskirts of the town of Robertson some 150 kilometres North of Cape Town. Many of them used to live inside the wine yard, but today they live in slum towns far away from the wine yards. Others are migrant workers from neighbouring countries like Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
By law, all workers have the right to join a union. All are entitled to a fixed minimum wage and everyone should be offered a good and safe working environment. In addition, the owners of the vineyards must follow a number of ethical and social requirements that the Scandinavian retailers have demanded. In our policy for ethical trade, we make a number of general requirements that must be observed by all Coops suppliers Danish as well as foreign. If they make a mistake or dont comply with or rules.
We enter into a dialog with them. We dont automatically throw them out. We could easily do that We believe that development comes through dialog, so we say: How will you solve this? Then they have to commit themselves. If they continue to make mistakes, then they are thrown out.
The organization, which will act as the nordic distributors eyes and ears in south africa, is called wieta. It is Wieta who will ensure an ethical and sustainable production. Today, almost half of the 3.300 wineries and producers in South Africa signed that they will comply with the ethical code that the organization Wieta has described If they meet the standards, then they can put this label on their bottles. But ONLY if they meet the standards:.
In south africa more than 100,000 workers are living inside the vineyards. Far away from the public eye. We will talk with them and see how they are but several wineries say no. () your request to access the properties of Leeuwenkuil with an investigative journalist is hereby denied () Please note further, that it is a criminal offence to trespass on private property and that Mr. W. Dreyer reserves his rights to lay such charges.
We have obtained imformation about serious violations regarding the ethcial standards and the law is being broken at the Leeuwenkuil farm So we come unannounced The winery, Leeuwenkuil is a supplier to the Nordic market And this is how the owner Willie Dreyer presents himself and his family at the farm An image that doesnt quite match the conditions for the farm workers at Leeuwenkuil.
its not blinking anymore We therefore had to use small and discrete cameras to document the conditions in the privately owned wine yards For the workers safety, we have in several cases chosen to hide their identity: I have been working on the Leeuwenkuil form for 15 or 16 years. I work in the vineyards.
Expensive wine is for suckers
These are 3 red wines that are made from the same grape, but at different prices. The most expensive: a 2011Honig cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley. Wine Spectator magazine rated it Outstanding. And it cost 5 times more than the one on the right. So does it taste 5 times better? 19 Vox staffers tasted and rated each of the wines. And almost half of them correctly identified the most expensive one. But thats not because they liked it more.
very nuanced. complex. didn’t enjoy it. The average ratings of the cheapest and most expensive wine were actually the same. I’m glad I have cheap taste. That’s going to make my life really easy. And this is consistent with a 2008 study that compiled 6,000 blind tastings in the US. It found that unless they had undergone wine training, people didnt actually prefer the taste of more expensive wines. In fact they enjoyed them slightly less.
yeah, that’s really not very pleasant. There seems to be something about wine that can make us feel a bit lost. That has sort of an oaky afterbirth. Thats probably why a single movie can move the whole wine market. That’s tasty. Thats 100% pinot noir. Single vineyard. They dont even make it anymore. After Sideways was released, sales of Pinot.
Noir jumped up compared to other red wines. and sales of merlot? Im not drinking any f*cking merlot. They slowed down. But who decides what good wine is? Professional judges give medals in wine competitions, but theyre really inconsistent One statistician showed that most wines that received the highest score in one competition also got the lowest score in another. This is the distribution of gold medals that you would expect if they were awarded by random.
Chance. it looks a lot like the actual distribution of gold medals entered in us wine competitions. That suggests judges often disagree with each other. But it gets worse: they often disagree with themselves. When surreptitiously given the same wine 3 times, only 1 in 10 of the judges at the California State Fair wine competition consistently awarded it the same medal. Wine ratings published in magazines can be all over the map too. Heres how two of the top critics described the same wine in 2004.
a brilliant effort completely unappetizing a wine of sublime richness overripe aromas remarkable freshness and definition more reminiscent of a lateharvest zinfandel than a red bordeaux. One problem is that not all wine publications require tasters to be blind to the price and the brand. And that matters because people cant seem to avoid associating price with quality. One experiment in Australia showed that people rated the same wine higher when they thought.
It was $53 rather than $16 or $6. but get this the experimenters had actually made that wine objectively worse by adding tartaric acid. It didnt matter the price tag overwhelmed their own taste buds. In another study, scientists scanned the brains of people tasting wines they thought were either $10 or $90. In reality, it was the same wine, but when they thought it was expensive, their brains showed more activity in a region associated with pleasant tastes and smells.