SEPTEMBER 2008


Spring is making a slow start, after a long, cold and wet winter in the Cape, and snow falls on the mountains earlier this month. Whilst the dams are more than 100 % full, the weather has had a dampening effect on tourism. Coupled with interest rate increases as well as rising fuel costs, the industry has experienced its worst winter ever. Forward bookings are slow, with world financial markets in turmoil, and the UK facing a recession – this is the most important source of tourism for South Africa. Bookings are far more last-minute than ever before, and for far shorter periods. The last-minute booking trend makes it hard to predict what the summer occupancies will be.

The petrol price decrease of 78 cents a litre, and in the price of diesel by R 1,44 a litre, on 3 September, is not only a monetary relief for every South African, but is also an important psychological boost for the tourism industry. Coupled with the interest rate being held steady in August, it signals a turning point, in that things can only get better.

Good news for the winter next year is that both the Confederations Cup, a “warm-up” for the 2010 World Cup, and the British Lions rugby tour will take place in June and July 2009. Bookings are already rolling in for the rugby tour.

Whale Cottage is celebrating two birthdays this month, of its Whale Cottage Camps Bay (10 years) and Whale Cottage Franschhoek (4 years). See the story below.

WhaleTales has expanded into a blog, with regular postings about the tourism industry. Visit www.capeinfo.com/whaletales.

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio


IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER
Cape Town on the ball for World Cup
FEDHASA is a farce!

Knives sharpened for top restaurant list!

Table Mountain tops Best of Cape Town Awards

Fundi funds 2010 flair

Whales Cottage celebration

Cape Town Top Ten City
 

CAPE TOWN ON THE BALL FOR WORLD CUP

 
 

Cape Town is a wonderful organiser of eight matches and a semi-final for the World Cup”, according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.   At a recent presentation to the industry, Teral Cullen, Director of the 2010 World Cup, City of Cape Town, spoke enthusiastically about how on the ball Cape Town is for 2010.   She likened the World Cup to a “tsunami”.

The event is creating a legacy for Cape Town and its citizens, in that it will benefit from an upgraded airport, station, railway carriages, road and transport system, as well as new hotel and event/conference infrastructure worth R 9 billion.   Cullen is positioning Cape Town as the “Party Capital of Africa”, and she says that the media exposure that Cape Town will receive from the event cannot be bought for any money.    She is looking at linking Cape Town, with its world heritage site, to Cairo, with its world wonder, and hopes to increase Cape Town’s desirability as an investment and tourism destination.

The dates for the Cape Town matches have been announced, and many of them fall on weekends, which is favourable for attendance and drawing visitors to the Mother City, says Cullen.  The 2010 Cape Town match dates are 8, 11, 14, 18, 21, 24 and 29 June, and 3 and 7 July, the last date being a semi-final.

Blatter would like to have the 2010 Opening Ceremony take place in Cape Town, but FIFA representatives insist that the opening ceremony will not be a separate event, and will precede the opening match on 11 June 2010, which is scheduled for Soccer City in Johannesburg.

Construction of the Green Point stadium is progressing well, and the roof is expected to be completed in twelve months from now.  The R 429 million contract for the roof has been awarded to Birdair Pfeifer, a joint venture between an American and a German company, reports the Cape Argus.   The roof will rest on 72 columns, and will incorporate the lighting, doing away with the need for external lighting as used for the old Green Point stadium, which caused a disturbance to local residents.  The roof will cover most spectators, and has been designed to reduce the noise to not inconvenience residents close by too much.

The stadium completion date is mid-December next year, in time for a visit to Cape Town of 100 broadcasters, in town for the announcement of the final team draw on 4 December 2009.  The 68 000-seater will reduce to 58 000 seats once the World Cup is over.

The stadium management contract has been awarded to Stadia France, which has linked up with star ex-Springbok player Morne du Plessis in its bid to manage the new Cape Town stadium.   The French company has been praised for the fine stadia it manages around the world.

The FIFA accommodation and ticketing agency MATCH is struggling to find support amongst Guest Houses and B&B’s, to make their accommodation available for the 2010 World Cup. Whilst 5 742 hotel rooms have already been booked via MATCH in Cape Town, only 735 “non-hotel rooms”, which could include B & B’s, self-catering establishments, and even university residences, boarding schools and college accommodation, have been booked, according to the Cape Argus. In total 24 725 rooms have been booked with MATCH around the country, more than half short of the 55 000 room target.

Small accommodation establishments feel uncomfortable about making 80 % of their rooms a-whale-able to MATCH, and to accept MATCH’s unfavourable cancellation policy. In 2006, MATCH cancelled large numbers of rooms in German hotels at short notice, without penalty. Also, the MATCH rate directive of 16 % on top of the 2007 rate, to set the 2010 rate, is not acceptable to many establishments, given that the inflation rate currently is around 12 %, which would leave establishments out of pocket. MATCH adds on 40 % to the small accommodation rates for its commission, which will make these establishments look far more expensive than they are in reality. Hotels, it would appear, are not too enchanted with the MATCH terms either, 30 % commission off their rack rates going to MATCH.

The World Cup 2010 Local Organising Committee has announced that the four lowest price category match tickets will only be available for sale to South Africans. More than 2 million tickets will go on sale from February next year, reports the Cape Times. This is the strongest indicator of FIFA’s confidence in South Africa’s ability to host this prestigious sports event.  The cheapest ticket price for the World Cup will be R 140, based on a pegged exchange rate of $ 1 = R 7, for the next two years.

South Africans will be limited to buying four tickets per match per family, and for only seven matches, to spread ticket sales as broadly as possible. More than 120 000 complimentary tickets will be made available to “nation builders”, and could include construction and transport workers.

Excellent news is that FNB Brand Director Derek Carstens, once an Account Director at advertising agency JWT, has been seconded to head up the marketing of World Cup 2010, and to ensure its commercial success. He sees the event as a major opportunity to unite all South Africans.

Blatter visited Johannesburg and Cape Town last week, and said “my objective is to reassure the whole country of Fifa’s 110 % commitment … to organise Fifa’s 2010 World Cup”, reports the Cape Argus.   He reiterated that FIFA’s Plan B and Plan C for 2010 are all South Africa.   Less than three months ago Blatter had indicated that he had a Plan B as an alternative to South Africa, but that this would only apply in the event of a natural disaster.

On his visit to Cape Town he berated the poor performance of the national Bafana Bafana soccer team, which he says has already had four years to improve its performance, but has not managed to do so.

Blatter said “I go back to Zurich a happy man”, reports the Cape Times, at the conclusion of his visit. He said that the 2010 World Cup will be a “great, great success”, and said it would be an exceptional and the best World Cup event ever. He praised the progress of the stadium construction and the planning for transportation to the stadia, and said that everything is “on track”. He even downplayed the crime situation, and the effect it would have on the event.

Blatter stressed that the Confederations Cup, which is a “warm-up” a year ahead of the World Cup, needed to receive communication support, not only in South Africa, but also in the qualifying countries Spain, Egypt, New Zealand, USA, Brazil and Iraq. The Confederations Cup will run from 14 - 28 June 2009. Unfortunately no matches will be played in Cape Town, as the stadium completion date is six months after the Confederations Cup. Tickets for the Confederations Cup go on sale from 23 November this year.   The Port Elizabeth stadium will also not be completed by June next year, and no longer will host the Confederations Cup matches.  The Confederations Cup matches will be played at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg and  the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Cleverly Blatter turned the undersupply of accommodation to MATCH, the FIFA ticketing and accommodation agency, into a positive, saying that demand for accommodation by soccer fans has outstripped the number of beds. This is hardly the case.

S A Tourism has reacted confidently to FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s comments about the shortage of accommodation for 2010, by stating that the country has more than enough accommodation for the event, with close to 100 000 graded rooms.  It has also indicated that the MATCH pricing policy is not acceptable ”…. MATCH wants to sign these (the balance of rooms needed) at below commercial market value.  We cannot allow Fifa to bulldoze the local industry” The Times reports SA Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosola as saying.

To counter Blatter’s criticism about the lack of marketing for 2010, Mosola has announced that R 200 million will be spent on a destination marketing campaign for the event, reports Travelwires.

Mosola has cautioned the accommodation industry to charge reasonable rates in winter 2010, to support South Africa’s positioning as a value-for-money destination. The 40 % commission that MATCH charges on top of the establishments’ accommodation rates for 2010, according to a set formula, is contrary to SA Tourism’s pricing caution, as it will make establishments contracted to MATCH appear extremely expensive.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited remains groundedd

 

FEDHASA IS A FARCE!

 
 

FEDHASA is an association purporting to represent the interests of the hospitality industry.  However, the association pays lip service to its Small Accommodation segment, consisting of B&B’s, Guest Houses and Self-Catering establishments, and in essence therefore is nothing more than a hotel association.

Currently four of the six FEDHASA Cape Board members are from the Hotel segment, despite roughly equal numbers of hotels, small accommodation establishments, restaurants and allied suppliers making up the roughly 550 membership. Currently there is no Small Accommodation owner to look after the interests of this segment on the Board.   In June, Susanne Faussner, owner of the Greenways Hotel, allowed herself to be nominated in the Small Accommodation segment, despite her hotel not meeting the description of B&B, Guest House or Self-Catering establishment.   This nomination was condoned by then-Chairman Nils Heckscher, GM of the Winchester Mansions, who motivated his decision on the basis of the Greenways Hotel being “small”, not  being aware that the FEDHASA Cape website clearly defines which type of establishments are represented in the Small Accommodation segment.  Hotels are a separate segment within FEDHASA Cape.

Phillip Couvaras, GM of the Table Bay Hotel, was elected as the new Chairman of FEDHASA Cape at the AGM in June, and stood against this writer as well as a Restaurant representative.  He had only been in the country for four months when he was elected, an unknown entity in the local hospitality industry.   He naively admitted that he had been encouraged by the FEDHASA Board to stand for Chairman, to prevent the control of FEDHASA Cape from falling into non-hotel hands!   After his election, he admitted that he did not know anything about Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism, and what they stood for.

The recent press release sent out by FEDHASA Cape about MATCH is testimony to the big hotel perspective that FEDHASA propogates, especially as it has a MATCH representative on the National FEDHASA Board.  FEDHASA has encouraged all its members, including small accommodation establishments, to sign up with MATCH. Despite hearing that MATCH is not favourable for Small Accommodation establishments, Couvaras and newly elected Small Accommodation segment chairman Susanne Faussner recently encouraged FEDHASA Cape members to sign up with MATCH. Faussner was dead against the MATCH terms a year ago.

Couvaras has angered his Alternate Directors by keeping them from the 1 August Board meeting by means of a dishonest e-mail, announcing the postponement of the Board meeting to a later date, when it did in fact take place.  An e-mail written to Couvaras 8 weeks ago, with subsequent reminders, to question the reason for the dishonesty, and the reasons for excluding the attendance of Alternate Directors at the Board meeting, remains unanswered, as do telephonic messages left with his efficient-sounding secretary.   Support for a reply from Couvaras was sought from National FEDHASA Board Chairman Eddy Khosa, who promised to return calls, but never did, and from Brett Dungan, CEO of FEDHASA’s national office, who refused to discuss the matter and rudely put down the phone.    Khosa remains Chairman of FEDHASA’s national board, despite having been suspended as CEO from the Johannesburg Tourism Company earlier this year.

None of the Board members of FEDHASA Cape were elected constitutionally at the AGM, but this was written off to a “technical omission” and has been ignored.  Heckscher and Couvaras have a very elastic interpretation of the Constitution, to suit their needs.

FEDHASA Cape recently tried to exaggerate the restaurant robbery situation is Sea Point, probably because one of its Director’s restaurants was affected, for the sake of obtaining publicity for the association.  The Sea Point police expressed its dissatisfaction about the misleading information in FEDHASA’s media statement.

For many years FEDHASA has set itself up as the lobbying body for the hospitality industry, and its media releases claim that it is “.. the lobbying body and watchdog for the South African hospitality industry nationally, and in all tiers of government on tourism, legislation, trading conditions, taxation, education and related industry issues.”    This is a hugely overstated claim, as no such discussions take place in FEDHASA Cape board meetings.  The Association did not manage to achieve any success in getting its input to the Sectoral Determination for the Hospitality Industry to be adopted by the Department of Labour last year.   Surprisingly, the Department of Labour is not represented on the national Board of FEDHASA, being one of the most important stakeholders for the industry.

Since its inception four years ago, Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) had one Board position for a FEDHASA Cape representative, taken up by past-FEDHASA Cape Chairmen Neil Markovitz and Nils Heckscher.   Heckscher resigned from the CTRU Board earlier this year, but would not tell his FEDHASA Cape Board why he had done so, other than citing “personal reasons”.   His letter of resignation from the CTRU Board was subsequently leaked to the Cape Argus, and cited Board politics as one of his reasons for the resignation.   It is surprising that Heckscher did not persevere on the Board of CTRU, in using his often-quoted strategy of “quiet diplomacy” to sort things out.  His resignation is detrimental to the hospitality industry, as it no longer has representation on the CTRU Board, now chaired by ex-Sun International CEO Peter Bacon.  FEDHASA Cape and CTRU have had an incestuous relationship, in that CTRU Executive Director Bekithemba Langalibalele has been co-opted on to the FEDHASA Cape Board for the past few years. Despite the industry’s criticism of the ineffectiveness of CTRU in marketing Cape Town and the Western Cape, discussions about CTRU and how it could be given input by FEDHASA to meet the industry’s needs better were not encouraged by Heckscher.

Last year Heckscher and Langalibalele set about a rewrite of the Constitution, and their most important change was the introduction of a clause giving the Board the power to eject a fellow Director from the Board, despite directors being nominated and elected by the FEDHASA membership. 

Many FEDHASA members have questioned their membership benefits, and complain about being bombarded with e-mails from the association.   The administration and the marketing of the Association leave much to be desired, but this is condoned by the Board.   The fiduciary duty of the Board directors, prescribed by the Companies' Act, cannot be exercised as the financials are never discussed in Board meetings.  The organisation's finances are not very stable, with more members resigning than joining. The 2007/2008 financials were presented to the Board one week prior to the AGM.  Questions were refused, and directors were told to ask them at the AGM!     

Couvaras, his Board and Executive Officer should be asked to resign, given their dishonest and discourteous behaviour towards the Alternate Directors, thereby breaching the FEDHASA Cape Code of Conduct.

The unprofessional and dishonest behaviour by Couvaras, the condonation thereof by his fellow directors, the double standards of the Board directors, and the personal politics which have no plaaaace in an industry body, have led to the resignation of this writer as Alternate Director from the Board of FEDHASA, and the termination of the membership of all four Whale Cottages from FEDHASA Cape. The detailed letter of resignation, highlighting the deficiencies of FEDHASA Cape, can be read at www.fedhasaisafarce.blogspot.com.

KNIVES SHARPENED FOR TOP RESTAURANT LIST!

 

KNIVES SHARPENED FOR TOP RESTAURANT LIST!

 
   

The Top 20 restaurant nominees have just been announced by Eat Out, and the Prudential Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list will be announced on 30 November.

Eight of the top 20 restaurants are new nominees, and will pose an interesting challenge to the long-established restaurants. New restaurants include the excellent Overture restaurant with chef Bertus Basson on the Hidden Valley estate in Stellenbosch, Rust en Vrede with chef David Higgs just down the road from Overture, and Myoga at the Vineyard Hotel, run by Richard Carstens and sister restaurant to Ginja, which has been on the Top 10 list forever, but has not made the new top 20 list this year.
 
Franschhoek has three restaurants on the Top 20 list (
Reubens, the Tasting Room and Bread & Wine), as does Stellenbosch (Terrior,
Overture, Rust en Vrede). Cape Town leads the pack with seven restaurants: Aubergine, Bizerca, Food Barn, Jardine, La Colombe, The Showroom, and Myoga. Three Johannesburg restaurants are on the list (Linger Longer, Saxon, Roots), as are Mosaic in Pretoria and Zachary’s in Knysna. Kwa-Zulu Natal has two finalists, being Hartford House and 9th Avenue Bistro.
 
Grand Provence in Franschhoek is another existing Top Ten restaurant that has not made it back on to the top restaurant list, possibly because of the tremendous jump in its prices. Bosmans at Grande Roche and Haiku are notable exceptions to the top 20 list.
 
Le Quartier Francais is said to be losing its chef Chris Erasmus, who is to open his own restaurant in Cape Town.
 
Despite the depressed economy, the restaurant industry appears to be confident about the future, with a number of restaurant openings in the pipeline.
 
The first restaurant to open is the re-awakened Roundhouse in Camps Bay, once the site of one of Cape Town’s finest restaurant. Owner Fasie Malherbe proudly brags that his restaurant will become the best in Africa! He is unashamedly Proudly Capetonian, and states that he only wants locals to support his restaurant - he is not interested in tourists. Also owner of the training company Let’s Sell Lobster, which has just been contracted by Wines of South Africa to train 2010 wine stewards to deliver excellent service, Malherbe recently supported his GM’s rudeness, on the basis that his shareholder interests were being protected!
 
Franschhoek already is the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, with three of the country’s Top Ten restaurants located in this beautiful village. Competition is set to increase, with three new restaurant openings. Richard Carstens is said to be opening on Huguenot Road, not far from the Monument, in a newly renovated Victorian Cottage. Carstens was a Top Ten chef when he headed up Bijoux in Franschhoek about 5 years ago, and continued wearing the Top Ten chef crown when he left Franschhoek for Lynton Hall near Pietermaritzburg. A stint at Manolo in Cape Town followed, but ended before it had really got going. Bertus Basson is cooking up a storm at his restaurant Overture on the Hidden Valley Estate in Stellenbosch, and will turn up the heat in Franschhoek when he opens his restaurant Genot on Kleingenot in December. Ever evolving Solms Delta is opening its new restaurant Fyndraai in the season. Reubens has undergone a make-over and expansion, and newly married Maryke Riffel is back on the floor, welcoming patrons.
 
Camps Bay too will see a further four new restaurants opening this season, with the Grill House, an Indian restaurant and a Paranga Beach Bar opening below #Blues. The Grand has opened in the Opium location, as a restaurant well-known to the Plettenberg Bay jetset for its simple yet yummy menu and exceptional music. The Grand in Plettenberg Bay was the brainchild of Gail Behr, who has since sold her Grand Cafe and Rooms. The Grand in Camps Bay will also offer accommodation.

In the V & A Waterfront Melissa's has opened its newest deli, not far from Vida e Caffe. 

Eat In has announced its RMB Private Bank South African Produce Award winners, and include Buffalo Ridge’s Mozzarella di Bufala, Trevor Daly’s wood-fired ciabatta, Paddock meats, Earth Apples’ gourmet potatoes, Quality Pickles, Jardine Bakery, Dalewood Fromage Huguenot, Bags of Bites sugar-free choc chip and macadamia biscuits, Fruits of the Karoo Aloe Juices, Kitchen Garden Sprouts, Wegkraakbosch Farm and Dairy, and Main Ingredient..

TABLE MOUNTAIN TOPS BEST OF CAPE TOWN AWARDS
 

TABLE MOUNTAIN TOPS BEST OF CAPE TOWN AWARDS

 
 

Table Mountain has won the Best Attraction category in the Good Hope FM Best of Cape Town Awards held earlier this month. The Award nominees were nominated by Capetonians, and the winners were selected on the basis of sms votes by locals.

Canal Walk won as the Best Shopping Center, and its Woolworths store won the Best Store award. The Best Architectural Design award went to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the Best Accommodation award went to the Vineyard Hotel, and Grande Provence won the best Restaurant Award. Best Product Award went to Woza Cape Town, a dance theatre group based in District Six.

Cape Town’s golden girl Natalie du Toit, who won 5 gold medals at the Paralympics in Beijing, was voted as a Cape Town Achiever, as was the Stormers rugby team.

One wonders how the voting took place in some of the award categories, given that the audience profile of Good Hope FM is predominantly Cape Flats-based. Grande Provence is not based in Cape Town but in Franschhoek, and charges an exorbitant R 250 for a 2-course dinner. It is currently a Top 10 restaurant, but has just fallen off the Prudential Eat Out Top 20 restaurant nominee list. So too, the Vineyard Hotel could hardly have been tried by most “Good Hopers”, with a current entry level double room rate of R 2 045, and with rates over R 5 000 in December.

The Table Mountain Cableway has seen a drop in visitor numbers of about 10 %, down to 785 000 for the year ended June, reports Cape Business News. The drop in visitors is attributed by the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company to “five months … with record bad weather patterns”. Strong winds cost the company up to 80 days of closure per year. The company has promised to do its maintenance ahead of the usual June/July period in 2010, to be up and running for the World Cup.

Cape Town will be honoured with a special Cape Town’s Day on 27 September, co-inciding with World Tourism Day. Cape Town Tourism has created the special day, which is designed to give something back to Capetonians, by allowing them to enjoy the icons and attractions of Cape Town. Local radio stations will run competitions, and winners will receive free tickets to go up Table Mountain, to visit Robben Island, Kirstenbosch, World of Birds, MTN Science Centre, Monkey Town, the Aquarium, and to enjoy a township tour, a city sightseeing bus tour or the Southern Line Rail Route.

Cape Town is bidding to host the Loerie Awards, the advertising industry’s Oscar-style awards presentation, recognising the most creative print, radio, TV and outdoor advertising. Cape Town is bidding against Margate, Sun City and Johannesburg for the 2009 award ceremony. Cape Town Tourism is co-ordinating the bid by the Mother City. The planned venue is the to-be-improved Good Hope Centre. For many years the “Loeries” were held at Sun City, and in the past four years in Margate. More than 3 000 advertising agency and marketing representatives attended the Loeries ceremony this year.

In August Cape Town was honoured by being selected onto the world Monopoly Here and Now board game, coming third after Montreal and Riga in terms of votes, and ahead of London, New York and Sydney, Paris, Jerusalem, Belgrade, Beijing, Vancouver, Shanghai, Rome and Toronto.

Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille is a finalist for World Mayor 2008, and is up against ten other mayors, including those of Nurnberg, Gothenburg, Phoenix, Tehran and Zurich. She is the only female finalist.

FUNDI FUNDS 2010 FLAIR

 

FUNDI FUNDS 2010 FLAIR

 
 

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has launched a national campaign to fund the training of 2010 wine stewards for 2010, reports Wine Tourism News.

Launching a new wine brand called Fundi, the profit of sales from the six red wine blends will go to the Fundi fund to finance the training programme. ‘Fundi’ is the Zulu word for ‘learner’.

Selling at R120 a bottle at retail outlets and R 150 at licensed outlets, about R 4, 5 million should be raised over the next two years. The Fundi red wines come from Anwilka, Hartenberg, False Bay Vineyards, Waterkloof, The Company of Wine People and Stellekaya. 

The training company Let’s Sell Lobster has been contracted to do the training, and will focus on existing staff in the hospitality industry, as well as unemployed persons. Let’s Sell Lobster claims to have radical training methods to turn inexperienced locals into knowledgeable five-star quality staff. On the Let’s Sell Lobster website CEO Fasie Malherbe says his course Bush Logic: “…is designed to cater for the trainees' needs. Not everyone needs to know the effects of volatile acidity and the benefits of Malolactic fermentation in barrel. Many staff members do not even know the different cultivars let alone the brands on their own wine list. My goal with my wine course is to take the pretentiousness out of wine and make it fun, funny, yet very educational and informative. I teach them how to distinguish cultivars and brands through association and tasting, and most importantly, how to recommend cultivars of specific brands.” In teaching trainees about wines, the company uses animals to explain the character of various wine varieties to its trainees. So, for example, Cabernet Sauvignon is likened to an elephant, Shiraz to a black rhino, Pinot Noir to a Hippo, Cap Classique to a giraffe, and Chardonnay to an African Fish Eagle. The company’s Umdiliya training effort for the tourism industry in Franschhoek over the past two years has however not met with this claimed success. See www.fundiwine.co.za

Avondale in Paarl is taking a strong stand in producing organic wines, and calls its farming approach Bio LOGIC. It does not spray its vines, and uses its army of Peking ducks and wasps to control the pests in the vineyards. The winery takes its “au naturel” concept too far when its advertising depicts naked men and women picking the grapes.  One wonders if it is necessary to use sex to sell an organic wine? “At Avondale, we’re getting back to nature – but we’re using 21 st century science, technology and research in the process” their advertising says.

Erika Obermeyer, winemaker at Graham Beck Vineyards in Franschhoek, has won the SA Woman Winemaker of the Year Award for her The Joshua 2006.

The Paarl wine region has been nominated for the Wine Enthusiast 2008 Wine Star Award in the Wine Region of the Year category, against Mendoza in Argentina, Santa Barbara County in California, Valpolicella in Italy and Willamette Valley In Oregon. Vilafonte, a Paarl winery, has been nominated in the New World Winery of the Year. These are the only South African nominees for the awards.

Bosman’s Restaurant at Grande Roche in Paarl has won the Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator for its wine list, the only South African restaurant to receive this award, reports Paarl Wine Country.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards has opened a separate new tasting room for its Southern Right wines in the Hemel and Aarde valley outside Hermanus. The Southern Right Pinotage has received a rating of 91 out of 100 by Wine Spectator, the highest rating for Pinotage ever. All Whale Cottages stock the Southern Right Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc.

WHALE COTTAGE CELEBRATIONNNN
 
WHALE COTTAGE CELEBRATION
 
   

The Whale Cottage Portfolio celebrates two anniversaries this month. Whale Cottage Camps Bay turns ten years old, while Whale Cottage Franschhoek opened four years ago. Last month Whale Cottage Hermanus, the first Whale Cottage to be established, celebrated its 12th birthday. Late last year Whale Cottage Plettenberg Bay was added to the Whale Cottage Portfolio.


 
The view from Whale Cottage Camps Bay (left) and from Whale Cottage Franschhoek (right).

Whale Cottage Camps Bay has undergone a major upgrade, including flatscreen TV’s, new landscaping, new airconditioners, new heated towel rails, and new soft furnishings.

Whale Cottage recently welcomed Top Billing presenter and former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss and her family as guests at Whale Cottage Hermanus.



Whale Cottage Hermanus Trainee Melanie Baas welcomes Jo-Ann Strauss..

 
WHALE COTTAGE
FRANSCHHOEK

  
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HERMANUS

  

WHALE COTTAGE
PLETTENBERG BAY

      

   
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