TOPS at Spar Gugulethu Wine Festival Bedazzles Cape Town

Monday, 3 June, 2013
Ask any of the 4555 people at the TOPS at SPAR Gugulethu Wine Festival last weekend and they will all tell you the same thing; it was the most fun-filled, vibrant and integrated wine festival in the Western Cape to date. It also saw the likes of YFM, DStv, Cape Talk, SABC, KykNET, City Press and about 150 other media from around the country and internationally flocking to the event.
Says festival co-founders and local entrepreneurs, Mzoli Ngcawuzele from Mzoli's Place and Lungile Mbalo, “A special thanks to all wineries and sponsors who make this event what it is. A special mention to Durban Tourism and Cape Town Tourism for being in Gugulethu and giving your loyal support to this festival.”

“Education, employment, upliftment and social cohesion are the primary objectives of our wine festival and we are achieving this year after year in a big way. The feel-good emotions that were felt and displayed by everyone at the festival, stems from providing a safe place for everyone to enjoy ‘the authentic lifestyle’ that wine has to offer, and more importantly, a safe place for people of all backgrounds and cultures to really get to know and understand one another. Our people may not have big houses and big cars, yet, but they have love and this was reciprocated with open arms.”

Two initiatives that should be available at every drinks-serving festival in the country were the TOPS at Spar’s DRYVER campaign, and SOBA, both available at this festival.
TOPS at Spar’s clever initiative is DRYVER, a mobile app, which is “tipsy-friendly” and simple to use; all you do is download a free app at, choose a community network of friends from your phone contacts, and help or a lift home can be arranged at any time you feel you’ve had one too many.

Says TOPS at SPAR Group Liquor Manager, Mark Robinson, “Drinking and driving is a serious issue in our country and we feel strongly about playing our part in finding solutions to the problem. By delivering our message in a practical, fun way, that includes a call to action, we believe we are taking our responsibility seriously.”

Says Lungile Mbalo, co-founder of the festival, “In an effort to become self-regulatory and responsible, in association with our headline sponsor, TOPS at Spar, we wanted to include these initiatives. We want to reduce alcohol-related harm through combating the misuse of alcohol beverages and promoting only their responsible use via education and choice. Both these initiatives were widely received and of great benefit to our festival goers.”

The Nederburg Wine and Food Taste Experience theatre was pumping with enthusiasm as Pete Goffe-Wood, SA MasterChef Judge, and Wilhelm Pienaar, winemaker at Nederburg, engaged with festival goers treating them to a hands-on experience of wine and food pairing. Every class was packed.

The luxury wine lounges were a hive of activity with popular Two Oceans Quay 5 wine lounge offering hair and makeup touch-ups for the ladies whilst they were tasting their low-alcohol Quay 5’s wines; and the new Brazilian-inspired Carioca wine lounge bedazzled ladies with beautiful face décor getting everyone into the rhythm of Rio in Gugs. Debuting at the festival, Carioca has definitely stamped its brand into the memories of thousands.

Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master and CEO of the Cape Wine Academy and organiser of the wineries at the festival, says “This was an outstanding event. Thank you to all the wineries that support this important festival. One of the challenges to overcome at the TOPS at Spar Gugulethu Wine Festival is that many wineries tend to ‘dumb down’ to this market, meaning that they only offer their lower end sweet, semi-sweet and rosé wines believing that this is the market they are addressing.

“Whilst this may be true for 60% of the visitors who are entry level, the other 40% are looking for the more top end wines. So we encourage wineries to bring their full range of wines. Our festival mandate is to educate the wine market responsibly; and increase South African market share and consumption, which is finally on the rise. This increase locally has come specifically from the black market.

Anel Grobler from says, “I do believe that today's emerging wine market are not just looking for something cheap and sweet, they are also looking to discover the finer red and white wines on the market. The problem is they will never buy it if they don't know about it. Shows like the TOPS at Spar Gugulethu Wine Festival are the perfect platform to introduce our country’s finest and top-end wines.”

Beverley Horrell, the wine ambassador for Alvi’s Drift winery who brought the Naughty Girl range of wines to the festival had this to say “I would just like to thank you from my side for an excellently arranged festival – I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait for next year. The Naughty Girl Sparkling wine went down extremely well, and we sold a considerable amount from the stand.  People were constantly enquiring as to where they can obtain these wines in Gugs. “

Theola Conyers, brand manager at DGB says, “Special thanks to TOPS at Spar for making wine lifestyle possible in Gugulethu, educating and enriching our communities with the art and enjoyment of wine and providing all an opportunity to taste and grow with wine”.

And so say all of us!