1 June 2012

SA wine tourism best developed in the world

The International Wine Review (IWR) has rated South Africa’s wine tourism experiences and infrastructure among the best in the world.

Wine tasting in the vineyards at Waterford Estate Wine tasting in the Waterford Estate vineyards, Stellenbosch

Wine tourism is better developed in South Africa than any country we know. - International Wine Review (IWR)

The status of the Western Cape Winelands as one of the world’s leading wine destinations has been given another prestigious boost - this time from the influential online wine publication, the International Wine Review (IWR).

IWR editor, Don Winkler, and publisher, Don Potashnik, visited the Cape Winelands in December 2011 to evaluate the region’s premium wines and its wine tourism offering.

Following their visit the IWR report declared that South Africa’s winelands offered huge rewards for wine lovers. The Cape wineries were lauded for having excellent tasting facilities, world-class restaurants and scenically spectacular locations. The IWR report concluded that ‘Wine tourism is better developed in South Africa than any country we know’.

André Morgenthal, communications manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA) and spokesperson for the Cape Town and Cape Winelands chapter of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC), welcomed the report, saying its findings were high praise indeed. GWC is a network of the world’s leading wine-producing cities and regions dedicated to advancing the standards of wine tourism,

South Africa joined the GWC network in 2001, which counts iconic wine-tourism destinations like Bordeaux (France) and the San Francisco-Napa Valley (United States) among its members. The network also hosts an annual international Best of Wine Tourism competition, which a growing number of local wineries have elected to enter.

Though their participation in the competition, South African member wineries have benefited substantially from benchmarking themselves against international best practices. As a result, the quality of facilities and services offered has improved greatly, according to Morgenthal.

This success has translated into measurable benefits to the economy of the Western Cape and substantially increased the tourism value of the Cape Winelands as a key economic and cultural asset. It attracts thousands of annual visitors and contributes revenue and jobs to the province’s economy. According to WOSA, wine tourism currently generates an estimated annual income in excess of R5bn.