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1 - Contesting the Moral High Ground

Overproduction and the Temperance Onslaught, 1880–1928

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2024

Paul Nugent
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

The first substantive chapter addresses the structural problem facing wine farmers at the Cape. Much like in France, there was a serious problem of overproduction of wines of indifferent quality leading to unstable prices. The chapter details the struggle between wine merchants and farmers, which led to the constitution of the Koöperatieve Wynbouwers Vereniging van Suid-Afrika (KWV) in 1918. It shows how the KWV successfully lobbied the Smuts government for devolved regulatory powers that enabled it to control the pricing for distilling wines from 1924. At the same time, the chapter shows that the market was constrained by low consumption amongst whites, including the Afrikaner wine farming community itself. This was compounded by the efforts of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and its allies in the South African Temperance Alliance (SATA) to pursue local option for whites and a form of temperance for the black population. The former failed, but the passage of the 1928 Liquor Act prevented the majority of the population from purchasing wine or brandy. Hence the victory of the KWV over the merchants was tempered by the legislative success of the temperance movement.

Type
Chapter
Information
Race, Taste and the Grape
South African Wine from a Global Perspective
, pp. 37 - 72
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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