South Africa's Wine Industry Steps Into 21st Century

As Google's Street View Explores More of the Cape Winelands
Building on this year's exciting Street View launch in June, Google will be adding a further 19 SA wineries to the most comprehensive database of winelands imagery in the world. This will include leading wineries such as Vergelegen, Thelema Mountain Vineyards and Villiera. Street View adds another dimension to Google Maps, with 360 degree street-level images taken by the Google cars and trikes, allowing Google users to view and navigate through wine estates, vineyards, historic buildings and gardens.

South African wine connoisseur, Juliet Cullinan, commenting on Street View and the growing importance of digital technology within South Africa's wine industry, says: "Wine-lovers all over the world can now visit the estates of some of our leading wine domains using Street View, plan their own wine routes and buy online. As the world's first vineyards to be placed on Street View, South African wineries will receive great exposure and can take advantage of this new technology in innovative ways, whilst expanding tourism and their global and local customer base."

Google is also running a hands-on training workshop for Cape wineries this week, focusing on how Google's geo tools can improve their online presence. Richard Cheary of Afrozaar, a mobile and web solutions company, sees the marketing capabilities of Google Maps and Street View expanding." There are so many ways wine farms can utilize geo products, including the creation of virtual wine route tours, incorporating video and interviews; mobile applications, comprising travel directions and preloaded tourist information; and online bookings with specific requests."

Wine.co.za, a popular wine news hub, has already integrated Google Maps into its database of wine listings. Kevin Kidson explains, "We are looking to incorporate Google Street View as much as possible, and are working on special routes using Google's API to add special overlays - for example, all wineries that offer Pinotage or Chenin, or wineries that are open on Saturdays or Sundays."

Cape Town Tourism endorses the initiative, and sees it as building on the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. "It is important to keep the momentum going and continue to showcase what South Africa, and in particular Cape Town, can offer as a tourist destination," says Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town Tourism. "The expansion of winelands imagery on Street View will no doubt encourage local and international tourists to come and explore this part of the country further."

Says Julie Taylor, Communications Manager for Google South Africa: "The local launches of Google Maps and Street View reflect Google's investment in South Africa, as well as our commitment to making the Internet more useful and relevant to South Africans. Street View also shows South Africa's heritage to the world, ranging from the iconic winelands to the Kruger National Park."

Using Google Street View
In areas where Street View is available, you can see the images on Google Maps (on a PC or Internet-enabled mobile) by zooming into the lowest level, or by dragging the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.

Google has gone to lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all South African users to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and license plates. In addition, any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate by clicking on "Report a problem". South Africa is the first country in Africa to get Street View imagery in Maps. Street View first launched in 2007 and is currently available in 23 countries and 100 metropolitan areas worldwide, including large areas of the US, Australia, Japan, France, Italy and Spain.

To learn more about Street View, visit: www.google.co.za/streetview

WineLand