'Many farmworkers are still treated like slaves' - Bitter Grapes producer

Only one South African wine label has been taken off supermarket shelves in Denmark.

This is according to investigative journalist Tom Heinemann, who says that Robertson Winery was taken off the shelves in the Scandanavian nation on a temporary condition, following revelations in his documentary about the treatment of workers in some South African vineyards.

I don't question that there are good farms. I don't question that my film is a very sharp-edged film about the industry. But if I look at the websites of the vineyards that I visited, that's a completely different picture that I see on their own websites

Tom Heinemann, investigative journalist

In his documentary film, Bitter Grapes - Slavery in the Vineyards, Heinemann finds that workers are treated poorly in the South African vineyards he has investigated.

He views the treatment of these workers as being equivalent to 'modern day slavery'.

I saw housing that was literally falling apart, rain coming down the roofs. I saw people have to live off water from a drain ditch alongside a road. I saw toilets that were locked up, so they had to walk into the vineyards to do their toilet. I saw very very depressing things

Tom Heinemann, investigative journalist

While in South Africa to shoot Bitter Grapes, Heinemann visited about 12 vineyards. Not all of them made it into the final documentary.

My aim is not to shut down South Africa's wine industry. If you talk about an aim of a film like this, its to bring everything out in the open

Tom Heinemann, investigative journalist

Robertson Winery responded earlier this month to revelations in the documentary, saying that the vineyard is not tantamount to slavery.

Speaking to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo, Heinemann says that his documentary is not about shutting down South Africa's wine industry, but to look at the poor treatment of workers and the need to do something about it.

He says that there have been damning reports in the past about the treatment of workers in South African vineyards, including findings by Human Rights Watch, but little appears to have changed.

Listen to the conversation below:


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