Juice box wine causes a stir
A local wine company has altered the packaging of its "Mal Piet" wine cartons after it was criticised for looking like children's cooldrink.
The 250ml juice boxes are brightly coloured and feature a large cartoon-like grinning goat.
On Monday, Western Cape economic development MEC Alan Winde criticised the packaging and said though it was not illegal, it was certainly irresponsible.
"We want responsible liquor traders in the Western Cape, not this...This is not a responsible way of selling liquor," he told reporters in Milnerton, Cape Town.
"The way the marketing and packaging is done, it does not look like wine. It looks like cooldrink or kiddies' juice."
He said if his daughter was walking past the carton, she would mistake it for fruit juice and put it in her lunchbox.
Cape Wine Works, which manufactures the product, had a meeting with Winde and said it would change its packaging.
Managing director Michael Kovensky told Sapa the new cartons would display a logo with a wine glass to make it less misleading. He believed the responsibility remained with parents to ensure alcohol products were not within easy reach, and that children were educated about the effects of liquor.
It was still doubtful though whether educational initiatives would overcome the perception created by the easy availability of alcohol in supermarkets and stores, he said.
"Liquor has always been the scapegoat of many initiatives that pop out... over the five years the product has been on the shelf you will get random complaints, but you deal with it.
"The colours [of the cartons] have nothing to do with children. If you look at the design of wine labels now... you get all kinds of innovative, creative labelling."
He said the product was packaged in a small carton with a straw as it was aimed at those wanting to drink while in the bush, specifically campers and game rangers.
It was also aimed at those with a limited disposable income. An individual carton sold for about R5, and a six-pack about R30.
"We shouldn't hold ourselves so aloof that those with a disposable income living in warm surrounds should look askance at people who can't afford to buy other products," Kovensky said.
The altered packaging would likely be on the shelves within four months.
Winde said on Wednesday he was pleased Cape Wine Works had heeded his call.
"I commend Kovensky for doing the right thing. In the coming months we will be vigorously monitoring other liquor outlets and distributors to ensure that they are operating responsibly."