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Grape juice now allowed in the manufacturing of cider

WINE industry body Vinpro has welcomed the decision by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to allow for the use of grape juice in the manufacturing of alcoholic apple beverages, or ciders.

According to the Government Gazette on 8 July 2022, Regulations under the Liquor Products Act will allow for the use of other fruit bases, including grape juice, to be used for the manufacturing of a cider, provided that at least 75% of the fruit base used is derived from apples. Up until now, only pear juice was allowed as a complement (up to a maximum of 25%) to apple juice in the manufacturing of alcoholic cider beverages.

“We are pleased with the decision, following extensive consultation with, and requests made to the Wine and Spirits Board by Vinpro and SALBA (SA Liquor Brandowners Association) on behalf of our members over the past 12 months,” says Christo Conradie, Vinpro manager wine business.

Conradie says the change is aligned with international standards and will keep the quality of South Africa’s cider products intact. The use of grape concentrate in cider manufacturing has the potential to replace a significant amount of apple juice concentrate that is mainly imported. “Apart from reducing the risk and cost associated with importing apple juice concentrate, cider manufacturers can now provide much-needed support to local grape producers and help reduce the wine industry’s high surplus – caused mainly by restrictions on wine sales since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – to stabilise the industry.

“With the contracting negotiations for grape concentrate that normally kicks off during September and October (ahead of the next harvest), this amendment comes at the right time and we would like to encourage wine grape producers and manufacturers to engage and consider the potential benefits of concluding sales agreements,” Conradie says.

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