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2 - ‘South Africa Calling the World’

KWV Regulation and the Struggle over Quality, 1924–1940

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2024

Paul Nugent
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter assesses the record of the KWV under C.W.H. Kohler in the performance of its initial mandate. It addresses minimum pricing, experimentation with innovative ways of disposing of the surplus, efforts to build exports and measures taken to improve quality. A partial return to preferential duties during the Great Depression ironically created more favourable conditions for maximising exports to Britain and the empire. While self-styled quality producers exported wine, the KWV developed a line in fortified wines. The role of A.I. Perold and Frank W. Myburgh in promoting a quality agenda at the KWV is explored. The chapter briefly relates the tale of a tour of France by Myburgh, Andre Simon and Manie Malan in 1932 that captures the optimism of the time. The chapter concludes with a salutary tale of a return to overproduction and low prices at the end of the decade. Although the KWV, which was internally divided, was blamed for a return to crisis conditions, the Wine Commission of 1937 backed away from advocating the return to the status quo ante. Hence, the government of Jan Smuts agreed to the extension of KWV regulatory powers to cover drinking wine in 1940.

Type
Chapter
Information
Race, Taste and the Grape
South African Wine from a Global Perspective
, pp. 73 - 104
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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