Locals can visit biggest wine event in SA’s history

Thursday, 19 February, 2004
Pippa Pringle
Cape Wine 2004 exhibition - previously reserved exclusively for foreigners
For the first time ever, locals will be able to attend the biennial Cape Wine 2004 exhibition previously reserved exclusively for foreigners. Sponsored by Nedbank, Cape Wine 2004 is a four-day exhibition from March 30 to April 2, involving the majority of the country’s wine producers, making it the biggest event of its kind in the history of the country. It is being hosted by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), the section 21, not-for-profit organization mandated by the industry to grow the country’s wine exports.

Said WOSA CEO Su Birch: ‘Until now there has never been a venue big enough in the Western Cape to accommodate foreign and domestic visitors. The opening of the Cape Town International Convention Centre has changed that. We can readily include the domestic trade and the wine-loving public among the delegates. As importantly, the additional space has also created the opportunity for the growing number of wine producers to showcase their products. This is the most representative wine show ever held. Virtually three-quarters of the South Africa’s producers are participating, the highest number ever involved in a South African wine exhibition.’

The number of South African producers has increase since 1995 by 75% from 245 to the current 424.

From garagistes (small-scale winemakers who turn their garages into cellars) to boutique wineries, the major corporations, co-operatives and negoçiants, there will be some 330 producers participating in Cape Wine 2004, showing some 4 000 wines. These will include new releases, rare wines and top performers in international events such as the International Wine & Spirit Competition, as well as the SA National Wine Show and the Fairbairn Capital SA Wine Trophy Show.

‘The domestic market is as critical as the export market to the continued growth of the wine industry and we welcome local retailers, restaurateurs, students of winemaking, members of the hospitality trade and the public. ‘They have as much right to share in developments such as the emergence of new wineries, new labels and new wine styles, as do overseas buyers and consumers.’

The purpose of the event is to spotlight the growth, innovation and advance of South Africa as a wine-producing country. The first two days, March 30 and 31, will target international wine buyers and sommeliers, and the last two days, April 1 and 2, local trade and consumers.

WOSA CEO Su Birch is expecting several hundred trade and delegates from the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia, including Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

‘What is especially encouraging is the calibre of delegates to have already confirmed their attendance at this stage. They range from the LCBO, the world’s biggest wine retailer, based in the Canadian province of Ontario, to journalists from such well-respected publications as the New York Times, USA Today, Observer, Daily Mail, Harpers and the like.’

She says South Africa’s most prominent winemakers will be rubbing shoulders with top international wine critics, travel and lifestyle journalists reporting for some of the world’s most famous glossy magazines and newspapers, as well as buyers from multi-national retail chains, sommeliers and specialist collectors.

‘What makes Cape Wine 2004 different from other local wine shows is that it has been designed with a professional wine buying audience in mind, which means it will be equipped to world-class standards, spacious, uncrowded and well laid-out with top-level service. Winemakers, winery owners and top management will be in attendance. There will be a series of themed wine tastings and panel discussions by renowned specialists.

‘We are competing for the attention of the global wine fraternity alongside other leading international shows such as Vinexpo in Bordeaux and Tokyo, the London International Wine Trade Fair and Germany’s WeinPro. It is essential that we provide an outstanding experience.’

Birch says one of the highlights co-inciding with Cape Wine 2004, also open to the local public, was Celebration of Cape Cuisine at the Castle of Good Hope. Twenty top Cape chefs, such as Peter Goffe-Wood, Graeme Shapiro, Margot Janse and Eric Bingo would each prepare a sample-size signature dish, accompanied by a local wine. Tickets to the event, on the night of April 1, would entitle visitors to indulge in all 20 combinations.

Booking for Cape Wine 2004, entitling visitors to attend for two days, at R200 a head and for Celebration of Cape Cuisine at R300, can be made on line at www.capewine2004.co.za

Issued by: DKC (De Kock Communications) for Wines of South Africa (WOSA)
Contact: Su Birch, CEO, WOSA
Tel: +27 (0) 21 883-3860

De Kock Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 422-2690
Email: tessa@dkc.co.za