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A Bumper Harvest doesn’t Convert into Local Sales for SA’s Winemakers

Vintners across South Africa may soon be searching for old bottles to hold new wine. The latest in a series of bans on the sale of alcohol since the start of the pandemic has left winemakers with a surplus of 300 million litres nearly half of last year’s harvest—in storerooms, with the latest annual harvest about to begin, according to an industry trade group which is threatening legal action to invalidate the nationwide edict. The plea follows a decision by the South African government this month to extend the prohibition, which bars the tasting and selling of alcohol to the public by wineries, farms, and vineyards, as well as sales of wine and liquor in hotels, stores, and restaurants. The extension came amid a resurgence of the coronavirus in the country and formed part of a push to preserve hospital capacity for Covid-19 by lowering alcohol-related trauma that can overwhelm emergency rooms.