I have written before about how export approval systems in New World wine-producing countries can hinder producers who operate outside the commercial norms (here: http://www.wineanorak.com/exportapproval.htm)
It’s a big problem for natural winemakers. You make a really good wine, have customers abroad clamouring to buy it, and you can’t sell it because a group of conventionally minded winemakers don’t understand the style.
I’ve just heard that Craig Hawkins, the 30 year old winemaker at Lammershoek in the Swartland, and acknowledged to be one of the brightest lights in the South African fine wine scene, has had his 2011 Testalonga Cortez Chenin Blanc rejected for the second time.
This is ludicrous. He has lots of orders in the UK and other countries. It’s a niche wine, priced at such a level that normal consumers aren’t going to stumble across it and wonder what they’ve bought. It is mind-blowingly good: I tried it out of cask in November 2011 and then from bottle in May 2012.
This is the sort of wine that will enhance South Africa’s reputation globally as a country capable of making world class wines. How on earth can this be refused export approval? We need to start petitioning the Wine and Spirits Board.