It was Wine-Stylin in Soweto

Wednesday, 18 September, 2013
The 9th TOPS at SPAR SOWETO WINE AND LIFESTYLE FESTIVAL, in association with Food Network and the Travel Channel, was a sight for sore eyes as 8813 people from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and even a few from different countries, sipped and danced their way through the festival weekend.
Marilyn Cooper, co-founder of the festival, Cape Wine Master and outgoing CEO of the Cape Wine Academy, said “The core objective behind the TOPS at SPAR SOWETO WINE AND LIFESTYLE FESTIVAL, which remains true today, is to create a platform on which to develop an emerging market of educated and confident wine consumers, and to provide a worthy platform for lifestyle brands to showcase their products and add value to our end consumer experience. This year was our finest festival to date and Mnieklo and I would like to thank everyone who had a hand in making this such a successful and beautiful festival filled with warm-hearted, wine-loving people!”

Jo’burg Tourism, Durban Tourism, Nederburg, Fatti’s & Monis, J.C. Le Roux and Massmart were amongst the big brands launching products and campaigns at the Festival , which also included wines, food, an art exhibition, live bands, DJ’s and a smattering of celebrities at what has become Jozi’s must-attend event of the year.

Despite the sell-out success of the festival from a lifestyle brand and visitor point-of-view, Dave Noble, Gauteng Area Manager of headline sponsor, TOPS at SPAR, believes that some of South Africa’s top wine labels are missing big opportunities by not participating in the festival. “If we look at the trend of growth of this festival in the long run, and the increase in consumption in South Africa since the launch of this festival, it is the right thing to do and the right place to be. It was a great success and it was good to see a variety of wines on offer. Going forwards, TOPS at SPAR will work with the organisers and the industry to encourage more of the right wineries to exhibit at this important show.”

Phillip Sithole, Head of Durban Tourism eagerly stated that the City of Durban was aggressively marketing in Johannesburg, and utilised the successful TOPS at SPAR SOWETO WINE FESTIVAL as its platform to launch the popular ‘Sunsational Durban’ Summer Campaign. Said Sithole, “Our trade partners were extremely happy with the enthusiastic interest they received, and were overwhelmed with the number of visitors that confirmed Durban for their summer holiday. Durban has also just been voted as the Friendliest City in SA and we are really proud to show off to the country our warm hospitality and sunshine smiles.”

Soweto-born Councillor, Ruby Mathang, who is the mayoral committee member for development planning and urban management, officially opened the festival with TOPS at SPAR on behalf of Joburg Tourism. The evening was MC’d by the formidable Metro FM DJ and Idols Judge, Unathi Msengana, and visitors were entertained by the Muffinz, a popular, local band.

Head of Joburg Tourism, Phelisa Mangcu, said, “Diverse events like this are crucial to promoting Soweto and to using its influence as an important leveraging tool to attract more events, and in so doing, fuelling economic growth and development, job creation and opportunities for the SMME sector. “

Moshisi Lehlongwane, Massmart supplier development manager showcased 15 BEE wine brands at the festival and said, “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in the 9th annual TOPS AT SPAR SOWETO WINE AND LIFESTYLE FESTIVAL. It was the perfect space to showcase the 15 of the 19 brands participating in our Developing Wine Brands Programme, which is supported by our Supplier Development Fund."

MasterChef SA Judge, Pete Goffe-Wood, who co-hosted the Nederburg Taste Theatre with Nederburg Winemaker, Danie Morkel, on the final evening, said that he was inspired by the response to his filled-to capacity classes. “Another rocking evening at the TOPS at SPAR Soweto Wine and Lifestyle Festival. It was bloody brilliant! The enthusiasm and interest around wine here is refreshing and honest and I love it.”