Local bodies combine to give the Cape's wine tourism greater clout

Wednesday, 13 October, 2004
Wines of South Africa
The Cape’s fast-growing wine tourism sector has received a major boost from the City of Cape Town and the Cape Winelands District Municipality, as well as the Destination Marketing Organisation who have agreed to work jointly on key projects to highlight the area’s attractions to international and domestic visitors. Last year, wine tourism generated R4,2bn in revenue for the country’s R14,9bn wine industry, according to a study commissioned by SA Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS).

The City of Cape Town and the Cape Winelands District Municipality have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two neighboring local authorities working as a joint member of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. Until now, Cape Town has been the sole member of the network, established five years ago to advance international wine tourism and the standing of its member regions, as well as to promote economic, cultural and academic exchanges among them, while still encouraging intra-member competition. The other member cities are Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Porto (Portugal), Florence (Italy), San Francisco-Napa Valley (US), Melbourne (Australia) and Santiago (Chile).

At the same time as the two local authorities will start working hand-in-hand, the Destination Marketing Organisation is also moving closer to the local chapter's initiatives of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. The DMO is to adopt the Best of Wine Tourism Awards, an initiative of the international wine cities' network, where each member city identifies its best tourism service providers across a number of categories. From 2005, the Best of Wine Tourism category will become a part of the DMO-run Cape Tourism Awards. However, the Cape chapter of the network will still run as an independent entity under the aegis of the two local authorities.

This year's Best of Wine Tourism Award winners, for which submissions close on October 20, will be announced in Melbourne at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network next annual convention in November. In addition to the original six categories of accommodation; architecture; parks, gardens, landscapes and panoramic views; art and culture; leisure and tourist attractions and festivals and events, André Morgenthal of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) announced the creation of five new categories. These are for special winery tourism; meetings and business tourism; winery restaurant; best sommelier and the best cellar door services. The judging guidelines adopted to reward the winners have been modified to incorporate elements of Black Economic Empowerment, equity, social upliftment and ethical trade.

Details of the 2004 awards were announced last night (October 11), when representatives of the City of Cape Town and the Cape Winelands District Municipality hosted a combined function addressed by Gavin Pieterse, chairman of the SA Wine Industry Trust. The event also served to celebrate the regional winners of the 2003 Best of Wine Tourism Awards who received their trophies from the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Nomaindia Mfeketo and the Executive Mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality Councilor Clarence Johnson. The winners were Spier, who won two awards, one for leisure and tourist attraction and a second for festivals and events, making it the overall Cape winner; Constantia Uitsig (accommodation); Rustenberg (architecture); Vergelegen (parks, gardens and landscapes) and Groot Constantia (art and culture).

Commenting on the closer ties between various players to advance the country's vibrant wine tourism sector, André Morgenthal said:

"This expression of unity between key players is a very significant step in building the industry and accelerating transformation. Co-operation at such a high level underscores the political will to eliminate fragmentation within the industry, making for greater efficiencies and economies of scale.

"Backed by a consolidation of skills and resources, the players from the private sector will receive a significant boost in their initiatives, which means we should expect to see flourishing growth and continued dynamism and innovation."

The Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Nomainda Mfeketo warmly thanked the organizers and the participants of the event and said: "To those of you who participated and did not win, thank you for helping us to put Cape Town and the Cape Winelands on the world map. Your participation in this event makes you a winner.

Mayor Mfeketo further encouraged the representatives of the network to promote the image of South Africa abroad:

"In a few weeks' time a small delegation will be going to Melbourne to represent not only tonight's winners, but the whole of our local wine industry at the AGM of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. My instruction to our representatives is not to be shy, we have a lot to be proud of in this country...our wines now enjoy international standing and our wine industry can teach the rest of the network a thing or two about industry transformation and economic empowerment.

"Present the wines of the Cape to the world with a proudly South African salute!"

The Executive Mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality, Councilor Clarence Johnson said: ""The wine industry is the backbone of the Cape Winelands economy as we host 68% of South Africa's producers. This event marks the consolidating of a partnership we have with the City of Cape Town and the wine industry in boosting the competitiveness of the wine industry globally, promoting South Africa and our region, and in supporting the transformation of our city and district economies.

"As I lead the official delegation to the AGM of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network I will be taking forward this agenda making sure that our advances in wine industry research and technology are recognized, that our extensive opportunities for wine tourism are marketed, that partnerships are forged in exploring trade and investment. In order to strengthen the position of the delegation we need to have the support and commitment of the South African wine industry in taking forward the resolutions of the AGM, and in building an industry that is fair, representative and competitive. I look forward to increasing numbers of participants in this Best of Wines Event in the future as an indicator of greater co-operation and trust. And I also look forward to healthy competition within the industry and between the City and the Cape Winelands in achieving the awards - this time I proudly observe that Cape Winelands has come out tops!!!"

QUERIES : ANDRÉ MORGENTHAL, WOSA, (021) 883 3860/082 658 3883