In these unprecedented times, many brands have found themselves the target of cancel culture.
Sometimes the meaning behind their message gets misconstrued or it gets lost in the many voices trying to make their opinions heard.
The restaurant industry has suffered a massive blow as a result of the current lockdown regulations. Some have been forced to shut down while others took to the streets, urging government to relax certain regulations to curtail the economic effects.
As a result of this, the hospitality industry has stood in solidarity as part of the “Million seats on the streets” protest.
So when Groot Constantia posted a message urging its patrons to have patience as the country waits for the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic to pass on Twitter, many took issue with it.
Much as we love sharing our wines and estate with you, we believe in teamwork and right now Team South Africa is focused on saving lives. At Groot Constantia we are South Africans first, proud wine makers second,“ the Western Cape wine farm wrote.
Much as we love sharing our wines and estate with you, we believe in teamwork and right now Team South Africa is focused on saving lives. At Groot Constantia we are South Africans first, proud wine makers second. #FeelGrootConstantia pic.twitter.com/vrGEKdGwP8
— Groot Constantia (@GrootConstantia) July 24, 2020
Some comments accused the farm of not supporting the hospitality industry and the Jobs Saves Lives moment, while others said they wouldn’t be purchasing their wines any longer.
What a tone deaf and highly insensitive tweet at a time when the entire hospitality industry is suffering & crumbling. I will go out of my way to ensure I never support your estate going forward #jobssavelives 👋🏻
— Sam Linsell 🍊🥑🍍🥦🥃 (@drizzleanddip) July 25, 2020
Suffice to say, the difference of opinion was as clear as night and day. And being the brand that they are, Groot Constantia tried responding to each and every tweet initially, but things took a downward turn from there.
Wrong! Over the past 335 years, our owners have been Simon van der Stel, Olof Bergh, Anna de Koningh, Cloete family, from 1885 a government experimental farm and from 1993 to today is owned by the Groot Constantia Trust (NPC).
— Groot Constantia (@GrootConstantia) July 25, 2020
While speaking exclusively to IOL Lifestyle, Groot Constantia said that opinions have certainly been split.
With the increase of new COVID-19 cases countrywide, I totally agree with you. Patience is what we need at the moment. This too shall pass. Love your wine!
— Darren Combrink 🏳️🌈🇿🇦 (@CombrinkD) July 26, 2020
Choosing not to be drawn into political matters, the estate did however say: “The Groot Constantia Trust NPC RF has no shareholders. The company is independent, self-reliant and sustains itself in every respect.”
When asked for official comment, a spokesperson added: “History teaches us that pandemics effect shifts and massive changes on a wide front. It, however, also ushers in a rebirth. This pandemic is no different.
“We, therefore, reaffirm our commitment to continue to build a company and an industry in partnership that is inclusive, diverse and helps to unlock the full potential of all our people.”