Monika Elias of World Focus Media has done a great job over the past ten years in documenting the contribution of the wine routes, and the wine estates on them, to Wine Tourism South Africa, in helping to inform and educate locals as well as tourists about wine in general, and to boost wine sales. Her 2014 edition of ‘Wine Tourism South Africa’ handbook has just been published , bearing the slogan of ‘sip, stay and play‘!
In her ‘Publisher’s Letter‘, Monika defines Wine Tourism as ‘…in the glass, on the plate, in the bed, around the vines, and for the planet’. She writes about ‘winery atmospherics’, such as architecture, lighting, sound, temperature, and kinetics, playing an important role in creating a point of difference for wine estates in an increasingly competitive world. Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Tourism experience, and most visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape will be very likely to visit a wine farm to taste their wines, to eat at a Winelands restaurant, or visit an event linked to wines.
The Handbook evaluates top restaurants on wine estates, using chefs hats (three maximum) to denote how good or not they are; and evaluates the winelists of the restaurants on the wine estates, by means of wine glasses (three maximum). A price range indication is also provided for the Winelands restaurants. The Handbook starts with tourist information and advice about car rental, taxis, trains, parking attendants, banking hours, VAT, the weather, tipping, and more. It lists the winners of the fifteen categories in the 2013 KLINK Wine Tourism Awards, which received votes from 15000 consumers last year.
The history of our country’s wine industry is described succinctly; the sustainable methods of wine production used are documented; and the international Fairtrade social and ethical certification system is explained. The grape varieties used to make wines locally are listed, and winemaking is briefly described. Guidelines are provided in how to read the label of a wine bottle, including the Wine of Origin information, the certification seal, the Sustainable Wine South Africa seal, and the WIETA ethical seal denoting fair working conditions. Wine styles are described, wine buying websites are listed, and wine storing advice is provided. Brandy, Pinotage, Sparkling Wine, and Chenin Blanc are described in greater detail. The top wine events are listed for the year ahead. Most of the Handbook is dedicated to the Wine Tourism Routes, covering Constantia, Durbanville, Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Tulbagh, Wellington, Breedekloof, Klein Karoo, Swartland, Robertson, Worcester, Agulhas, Elim, Bot River, Elgin, Walker Bay, Darling, Olifants River, Cederberg, Northern Cape, Plettenberg Bay, and KwaZulu-Natal, providing an overview of each region, advising what one can do, including what the children can do, where one can eat, and opening times of the wine estates in each area.
Last year we wrote about the 2013 Wine Tourism South Africa handbook: ‘The Wine Tourism Handbook is a wealth of wine information, and should ideally be given to all tourists arriving in Cape Town as compulsory reading’, which Monika has featured on the back cover of her 2014 handbook. We stand by this evaluation of the value of the Wine Tourism South Africa Handbook, and salute Monika on her hard work in keeping the content and look of the Handbook fresh and up to date!
Winelands Tourism South Africa Handbook, World Focus Media, Cape Town. Tel 083 631 3393. www.winetourismhandbook.co.za Twitter: @WineTourismSA
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage