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South Africa’s Wine & Food Trails

Wild, Wonderful, Innovative, and Chic
South Africa’s Wine & Food Trails

South African wine tourism is flourishing. With a commitment to sustainability and fair trade policies at the forefront, South African wine now ranks seventh worldwide. With ratings higher than ever, a closer look brings us face to face with the individuals who represent this stunningly beautiful country’s food and wine culture. They are a people that offer not only the best products, but also a heartfelt look into the surrounding communities and their place in history.

As a travel destination, South Africa can attribute part of its recent popularity to wine trade and tourism shows like Vindaba, a specialist wine tourism exhibition that took place in Cape Town in September as part of the larger Cape Wine 2012 show. A new collaborative effort among tourism organizations, Vindaba represents the partnership between Wines of South Africa and SA Tourism, as well as the Wine Routes, Cape Town Tourism, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and the Department of Finance, Tourism and Economic Development of the Western Cape.

Says Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa and chairperson of the Vindaba Committee, “South Africa has been steadily building a domestic and global awareness for the range and excellence of its wines. It is now considered a significant wine- producing country.  With provenance  playing such a  strategic role in wine marketing, it makes sense to advance wine-related tourism. Wine lovers are actively encouraged to visit the source of the products they enjoy.”

Beyond the Bottle

Vindaba and Cape Wine’s ‘beyond the bottle’ approach gave visitors and buyers three days to experience South Africa’s finest accommodations, activities, gourmet dining, and scenic wine country, in addition to a chance to sample thousands of wines. With wine tourism now identified as one of the most lucrative sectors of the global tourism market by Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Vindaba is on its way to becoming South Africa’s premier wine tourism show.

One of the many names associated with the Vindaba exhibition was the La Motte wine estate, which is situated in the scenic Franschhoek Valley. The estate is best known for its Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc, but produces a range of red and white varietal blends, as well as a sparkling wine, Méthode Cap Classique Brut. Owned by Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and managed by her husband, Hein Koegelenberg, the estate maintains a commitment to high quality, not only in product, but in practice as well. All of its vineyards are SGS Organic Certified. A hiking trail is available on the grounds, giving visitors an opportunity to experience the striking biodiversity of the area. It’s stunning Pierneef restaurant, under the direction of Chef du Cuisine Chris Erasmus, offers an innovative take on classic Cape Winelands faire, all made with locally grown, sustainable ingredients.

La Motte was recently named–for the second consecutive year–South Africa’s Best of Wine Tourism champion by the Great Wine Capitals, a network of the world’s leading wine producing countries. Says Koegelenberg, “We feel blessed and thankful and very excited about being recognized for our passionate efforts to enhance our tourism offering. Wine Tourism is so important for the social and economic well-being of our community and we are very proud to have a part to play.”

“Wine tourism” he continues, “is about wine and  to  a great extent about what happens around the wine, the added offering and activities. But eventually wine tourism is also about the community. Getting everyone involved, creating job opportunities, developing an opportunity for education and training and upliftment.”


(Editors note: This is the first of a series of stories on South African wine and travel from the latest print edition of Santé Magazine.) 

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