I am not alone when I say that I am deeply offended by the actions of KWV in the past week.
And I am not ashamed to say that I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am not talking about dogs or dolphins here.
The people I speak for are, ironically, unable to speak for themselves because they are the victims of foetal alcohol syndrome.
Others have difficulty speaking because they are on their knees in prison busy with the oral exam to qualify for membership to the 28s.
But the silent majority are unable to speak for themselves simply because they are unconscious under a tree, under a car or under anaesthetic.
KWV has committed the cardinal sin of winemakers everywhere. Not by doctoring their wine, but by pouring thousands of litres of the stuff down the drain. And they still have the audacity to talk about ethics.
Personally I cannot think of anything more unethical than destroying nearly 70 000 litres of vino for no good reason at all.
KWV is behaving as if its most resourceful winemakers, Ian Niewoudt and Gideon Theron, were caught dosing the sauvignon blanc with liquid Ecstasy when, in fact, their only crime was to try to make the taste of wine more bearable.
Ever since I discovered the benefits of alcohol at about the age of five, I have had a hard time keeping wine down. Even the so-called good stuff tastes like badger’s urine to me.
The only people who can stomach wine of any vintage are teenage girls, unemployed journalists, middle-aged homosexuals and housewives who use it to wash the Valium down.
KWV was so concerned about their reputation that they took out full-page advertisements in the Sunday papers saying, “management is confident that the problem is isolated”, as if the entire workforce were under quarantine after a foreman diagnosed with bubonic plague fell into one of the vats.
The company is also “satisfied that the necessary corrective and preventative actions have been implemented”. Loosely translated, this means that Niewoudt and Theron got their creative asses fired.
Even the MEC for agriculture leapt onto his high horse, using words like “stunned”, “shock” and “scandal”. The Western Cape government hasn’t reacted so vehemently since Pagad tried to blow up Cape Town.
Everyone knows that one of the biggest natural flavourants in wine comes from chameleons. I am the first to agree that any animal capable of looking forwards and backwards at the same time, let alone changing colour at will, deserves to be harvested, liquidised and drunk slowly with a little lightly salted mozzarella and biscuits on the side.
But, however much they deserve to die, chameleons have never really made wine any more palatable. More earthy, perhaps, but not palatable.
Niewoudt and Theron did nothing more serious than slip a bit of green pepper extract and a dash of fruit juice flavourant into the tanks when nobody was looking.
Were they perpetrating some sort of heinous Ken Kesey-type experiment covertly dubbed the Electric Sauvignon Blanc Acid Test that would get the degenerate wine-drinking community to stop their wife-swapping parties and make a concerted effort to create a genuinely anarchic society?
The only thing these merry pranksters wanted to do was win a few medals at one or other of the wine competitions that come and go in an ebb and flow of conspicuous vulgarity.
All they are guilty of trying to do is make wine taste a little better than the eye-watering, gout-inducing swill that it usually is.
Is this any reason to publicly brand them as the adulterating servants of Bacchus?
Hell, no. They are heroes. More than that. They are a feisty blend of full-bodied noble red cultivars with soft tannins and they deserve our eternal gratitude for having the honesty to admit, in a roundabout sort of way, that wine in its natural state is undrinkable.
The wine industry is so far up its own provincial decanter that it thinks it is superior to everyone else who deals with food and beverages and other related substances.
What we need to do right now is destroy the cherished myth
that wine farmers are somehow providing a more useful service to humanity than Mrs Bismillah and her damn fine mutton rotis.
Wine farmers generally have a lot more money than Mrs Bismillah, and this is one of the reasons why people like you stand in awe of these shameless grapemongers.
Just because they live in magnificent mansions on sprawling estates with wanton wives in jodhpurs and children with blue eyes and blonde hair, you instinctively believe that they are a higher life form. You need to sober up.
They make their money by producing more than 740 million litres of wine each year. And each year every single drop passes through somebody’s liver. Okay, not every drop. A fair percentage ends up on the carpet or down the side of your car.
Winemakers manufacture a product that disappears as fast as you use it. And once you have finished with it, the only evidence it ever existed is a brain too big for its cranium and a mouth full of monkey armpits. And possibly two broken legs and a criminal record.
Why do you think wine farmers and their conniving connoisseur acolytes always pick up a glass by the stem? They would have us believe that this is to prevent their hot little hands from heating up the wine, but those of us who have been around these swine know it is to prevent the police from lifting a clean set of prints.
Anyway, none of this matters because well-adjusted men and women drink beer. And do not, for one minute, think that I am punting any of SABMiller’s products.
When I open a beer I do not want to be reminded of grey-suited, gimlet-eyed executives bludgeoning satire into an early grave.