Steenberg wins Best of Wine Tourism Award at global gala dinner in New Zealand

Thursday, 4 November, 2010
Great Wine Capitals
Steenberg Vineyards, established in 1682, is one of the global winners of the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards. This was announced in Christchurch, New Zealand today (November 4) at a gala event attended by high-level members of the wine tourism industry from South Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America and New Zealand.
The farm, in the historic Constantia Valley, emerged as one of the competition's top-line international winners, having won two of the seven categories in South Africa, namely architecture, parks and gardens, and wine tourism services. In addition to the winery, Steenberg runs a fine-dining restaurant, a bistro, a five-star luxury hotel and conference centre and a championship golf course. Amongst its offerings are terroir walks that highlight the farm’s unique wine-growing location and climatic conditions; the opportunity to taste wines still in the tank or barrel, and innovative food and wine pairing options.

Steenberg joins the other global winners of the nine participating countries, which saw 80% of entries coming from altogether new players this time. They are Yealands Estate in the South Island’s Marlborough region, New Zealand’s largest carbon-neutral certified winery that made international headlines for using miniature to sheep keep the vineyard’s grass and weeds in check; Villa Vignamaggio, one of the oldest wine estates in the heart of Chianti Classico between Florence and Siena, dating back to 15th century Renaissance times; the highly regarded Bordeaux Supérieur property in the Haut Medoc, Chateau Paloumey that regularly exhibits paintings and sculptures; the Wine Oil Spa Hotel Villa de Laguardia set in the vineyards in a medieval town in the heart of the Rioja; Porto's Quinta Aveleda, a 300-year-old family-owned estate and one of Portugal's leading producers; the luxurious Hyatt Regency on the banks of the Rhine in Mainz that integrates a 19th century building with 21st century architecture; Conn Creek Winery on the scenic Silverado Trail in Napa Valley that promotes the region's Cabernet wines; and the Bodega Diam Andes, a member of the high-profile Clos de los Siete partnership of wineries in Mendoza, whose driving force is French winemaker Michel Rolland.

The nine will all carry the title as their countries' Best of Wine Tourism winners for 2011. The international network of wine capitals, in addition to Cape Town/Cape Winelands, includes Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal) and San Francisco-Napa (United States) and most recently, New Zealand's Christchurch.

Last year's global winner from South Africa, Rust en Vrede, which was then also ranked one of the two best restaurants across the network, has this time won the local restaurant category. The restaurant, which also features in the 2010 San Pellegrino World’s Top 100 Best Restaurants worldwide, is run by chef David Higgs and sommelier Neil Grant.

Other winners from South Africa were Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, situated on the Helshoogte Mountain Pass, for offering the best accommodation; Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate in Franschhoek (arts and culture); Warwick Estate on the Simonsberg (innovative wine tourism experiences) and Waverley Hills, between Tulbagh and Wolseley (sustainable wine tourism practices).

Clarence Johnson, deputy mayor of the Winelands District Municipality and immediate past president of the Great Wine Capitals organisation, said the South African judges had been impressed by the ongoing rise in standards in local offerings. "Western Cape wine tourism practitioners can stand proud alongside their international competitors. They do not take for granted the competitive advantage of being located in what must rank as amongst the most beautiful winelands anywhere in the world, nor that most of our wine regions are within easy reach of one another, as well as being close to Cape Town.

"They have recognised that we still are a long-haul destination for many international tourists. That makes us keep on trying harder. It's evident in the constant innovation amongst producers, as well as the progress from year to year in the already excellent standard of our wine experiences. The recognition of our best wine tourism offerings adds to the critical acclaim received since the FIFA World Cup."