Ethical trading and socioeconomic transformation: Critical reflections on the South African wine industry

David Bek, Cheryl McEwan, Karen E. Bek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Newly emerging ethical trade practices in the South African wine industry are examined as a way of engaging with debates about the ability of alternative trade approaches to facilitate meaningful opportunities for socioeconomic development in the global South. The South African wine industry has undergone rapid restructuring since the end of apartheid in order to meet the demands of international markets. However, transforming racially skewed ownership and skill patterns is proving a particular challenge. In this paper we outline some of the initiatives that have been introduced to stimulate socioeconomic change within the industry. By utilising analytical tools such as commodity chains, networks, and cultural approaches we demonstrate that a complex array of forces is driving change on th ground. Such forces include national imperatives derived from the legacy of apartheid and the concerns of consumers in the global North. We conclude by considering the types of local and global constraints that need to be challenged if these initiatives are to be successful in facilitating meaningful socioeconomic transformation within the wine industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-319
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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