WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre has appointed Julie-May Ellingson as its new CEO.  Ms Ellingson has been CEO of the Durban Convention Centre for the past three years.

*   With the assistance of Wesgro and the Department of Trade & Industry, local wine exporters Robinson & Sinclair have secured a national listing with Walmart Sams Club Brazil.  The company represents 18 family-owned wine estates.

*   TripAdvisor ‘reviewers’ have voted Cape Town second best in the world in the categories ‘Best for Restaurants‘ (after New York) and ‘Helpful Locals‘ (after Tokyo), in its World City Survey 2014.  Helena Egan, Head of TripAdvisor Destination Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said about our country and its people: Everyone is friendly and it’s a genuine friendliness. It comes from the heart. It’s natural. The joy and happiness of the people are key to your destination success’. Velma Corcoran, Executive for Marketing at Cape Town Tourism, added: ‘Any accolade awarded by destination users is a fantastic barometer for us. The fact that we have been voted second to New York as one of the world’s top restaurant cities is truly a testament to Cape Town’s talented and visionary chefs and restaurateurs. It is a moment to celebrate, and luckily Capetonians and visitors can do this at great value this winter as excellent specials abound. On behalf of the destination I would also like to thank each and every person who smiled at, assisted or shared their stories with our visitors. We are so proud to be Capetonian‘.

*   The image of Pinotage is improving, as its association with ‘burnt rubber’ and bitterness is being addressed by the wine industry, said Gavin Patterson of Sumaridge Wines, at a masterclass in London.  He said that the cultivar is ‘the least suited variety to over-extraction, working the cap hard and over-ripe grapes.  Pinotage can be like a wild horse; you have to rein it in to get quality from it’.  The problems appear to have been caused by older vines with leaf roll virus.  After a lot of Pinotage vines were pulled out in the past 10 years, slowly more is being planted again, in more ‘measured, site-specific plantings‘.  Fewer wines are matured in American oak as Pinotage is increasingly made in a drier style.  Patterson expressed his delight that the Pinotage Association supports the Cape blend, which contains at least 30% Pinotage, having  a unique South African style.

*   Cape Town steakhouses HQ and Theo’s have made it onto the Top 5 finalists for The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships, based on public voting, which saw a Top 20 list voted for out of 140 entries received.  The other finalists are The Local Grill in Parktown North, Fahrenheit in Edenvale, and The Godfather in Centurion.  The Top 5 steakhouses will be evaluated by food experts and chefs, before the 2014 winner is announced. (received via media release from Hazell Public Relations and Wine Consultants)

*   The next topic in the One&Only Cape Town Guest Speaker Series is ‘Surviving Rhino Extinction in the Wild – Rhinos: The Past, Present and Future’, by Colin Bell, a field guide, rhino conservationist, and author.   He will address the thorny issue of rhino conservation, on 3 July.    The cost is R275, and includes a Buffet dinner at Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town. (received via media release from Manley Communications)

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage