Before arriving in Buenos Aires on this my second visit to the city, I had not prepared for my visit from a wine perspective, my main goal in spending a month in Argentina being to learn to dance the Tango. I have planned to visit Mendoza, renowned for its Malbec, have attended a wine tasting and food pairing evening at COWI in Buenos Aires, drunk three wines at the dinner at Buenos Aires’ Tegui, 86th Best Restaurant in the World, one wine at Don Julio, the 34th Best Restaurant in the World and Best in Argentina, and two wines at dinner at 1884 Restaurant in Mendoza. I have summarised my initial knowledge about the wine industry of Argentina, the fifth largest in the world, to which I have added some research information too. Continue reading →
Last week a special friend and I visited the Cap Classique Cellar Le Lude in Franschhoek, having become dedicated drinkers of this sparkling wine. Continue reading →
*. South African exports into Africa are growing, says Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Africa head Matome Mbatha. Angola is taking 6 million liters of wine, of which more than 80% is sparkling wines, and predominantly JC le Roux, a brand they are ‘crazy about‘, Mbatha says. The 4,5 million liters of Nigeria’s imports from our country are mainly Pinotage and Merlot.
* Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is to open a pop-up The Test Kitchen restaurant at Continue reading →
* To grow Tourism, our country should focus on attracting tourists in other African countries, and work with other African countries to combat common issues, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom told the Hospitality Investment Conference Africa (HICA) in Cape Town yesterday. Issues that need a joint approach are easier inter-country travel on the continent, and addressing the spread of Ebola and the perception that Africa is one country, which is infected with the disease.
* Slow Food is celebrating its 25th anniversary, having been founded in Italy to counter the growth in fast food. It celebrates the ‘diversity of food, the richness of our traditions, the connection between what we eat and how it is produced. Since then, Slow Food is the only movement to connect the pleasure of food with social responsibility; fighting for the fundamental right to good, clean and fair food for everyone‘.
* Sales of alcoholic beverages in the UK have decreased by 6% in the last week of the five-week World Cup period compared to the same period a year ago, as interest in the soccer event has decreased in the last week of the tournament, despite reaching close to £ 1 billion in sales. Sales in the first three weeks of the tournament showed an increase, however. Champagne and sparkling wine showed the strongest growth in the past month. Cider sales decreased by 11% compared to a year ago. England’s early World Cup exit and better weather in July 2013 have been the cause of the beverage sales decrease.
* A Wine Intelligence study finds that UK wine drinkers almost equally accept cork and screw cap closures, at 40% each; Australians prefer screw cap wines (55%) to cork (38%); and in the USA cork is strongly preferred (64%) compared to screw caps (21%). The choice of closure is dictated by image and practicality, more than ‘scientific’ reasons of helping the wine to breathe, stifling ageing, or preventing spoilage.
* The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is encouraging its members to use IT to improve the customer experience, saying that airlines ‘fly people and cargo, not planes‘. Consistency of customer experience is not yet satisfactory for airlines, with little differentiation. Customers would like to use IT to check in online, tag luggage themselves, board themselves, and collect bags themselves, an IATA survey found last year. IATA’s goal is that 80% of passengers have a ‘self-service suite based on industry standards‘ available to them by 2020.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is not known as a Tourism consultancy, so its prediction about our country’s tourism future is a surprise. Its report presents growth of 4% in international tourists 2013, far lower than the 10% growth in 2012. Growth is said to be solid and good, but ‘not fantastic growth‘. Almost three quarters of international visitors to our country are from Africa, the report confirms. Nigeria would become the leading source market for our country, the PwC study predicts. The Guest House category is the fastest growing in respect of room availability. South Africa’s strength is that it attracts leisure as well as business travelers.
* France must be feeling the tourism pinch, having announced plans to become more welcoming to tourists, English speaking ones in particular. The country hopes to increase tourist numbers to 100 million, Continue reading →
* South Africa, and the Cape specifically, has two The World’s 50 Best Restaurants on the top 100 list: The Test Kitchen at 48th position, and The Tasting Room at 72nd position.
* A Schengen-type visa may be introduced for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, to make travelling easier for tourists. This suggestion is on the agenda of the WTTC Global Summit, and it is planned to increase the tourism market share of the continent to a double-digit one by 2020, from the current 4%. Our country is pushing for such a visa, but only a handful of the other SADC countries Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is expected to sign the visa agreement initially.
* Surprising is to read that Distell ad agency The Bester Burke Slingers Group is closing its doors in July, the partners saying that they have had enough of the advertising industry, and that they are no longer able to guide clients in their marketing.
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. Continue reading →
* Humpback whales are off the endangered list, and are estimated at a population of 80000. Right whales may be extinct by the end of the century.
* Well known Cybele Forest Lodge will close down on 17 November due to a land claim by the local community.
* Fashion designer Gavin Rajah has been announced as the South African Tourism Designer of the Year by SA Tourism.
* Tour operators are blaming poor management and cost control for SAA’s Buenos Aires route being unprofitable, and have urged the airline to reconsider its decision. They have also requested the connection to Argentina to be via Cape Town, and not Johannesburg.