SEPTEMBER 2010

 
We welcome the arrival of Spring and hope that it will bring with it much needed tourists. Where I go, I hear hospitality businesses talk about this year being the worst ever experienced. It started with May, the worst ever month compared to previous years, and only improved in Cape Town during the World Cup (country towns were even quieter than in previous years in June and July). August was not too bad, but this month is one of the worst Septembers ever, but the long weekend later this month is a welcome saviour. The strong Rand and the ailing British economy are having the worst possible effect on our industry. German bookings have improved since the World Cup, due to the excellent ZDF TV coverage our country received during the World Cup. We are grateful for the latest drop in the interest rate.
 
Whale Cottage Hermanus celebrated its 14th birthday last month, with balloons and bubbly. We are grateful to the whales for making their regular appearance, and for all our loyal guests, staff, friends, colleagues and suppliers in making our Whale Cottage Portfolio a success.
  
We are extremely proud to have been selected as a Finalist for the S.A. Blog Awards, and thank all our readers for voting for us in the Nomination stage. Please vote for us for the Finalist stage (see below).
   

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio  


IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER

Tourism amalgamation could grow into a storm

Whale Cottage ‘controversial’ selection as a Finalist in SA Blog Awards
Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club pairs Relax-with-Dax and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte
Restaurant industry feels
pinch with closures,
yet new ones open

Google goes for a drive
in the Winelands

Sweet & Sour Service Awards

     

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Article1
 

TOURISM AMALGAMATION COULD GROW INTO A STORM

 

  

The Board of Cape Town Tourism has diplomatically told the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, that it is not happy to turn back the clock, and support his proposal for a centralised provincial tourism marketing agency, in that this would impact on the running of Cape Town Tourism, and of the marketing of brand ‘Cape Town’. In July Winde announced his plan to consolidate Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited into one centralised provincial body, and to market one centralised Cape Town/Western Cape brand.
 
In a recent meeting the way forward was discussed. It was agreed that an apolitical body was needed which would not change every time a new politician was elected at provincial or City level. It was also agreed to appoint an independent Change Manager to lead the process of negotiation between the two parties. In 2002 the provincial government and the City decided to unify the marketing of Cape Town, by taking this role away from Cape Town Tourism (Sheryl Ozinsky was the CEO at the time), through the creation of a Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), named Cape Town Routes Unlimited. The role of Cape Town Tourism was to unite seven local tourism bureaus, stretching as far as Somerset West, into one Visitor Information network, with unified Cape Town Tourism branding. Cape Town Tourism was re-created, with a new Board of Directors and a new Constitution, created as an apolitical industry association, a body for members run by a Board elected by its members, and reasonably independent of the City of Cape Town’s funding, in that it focused on the generation of own-income. A review organised by then City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member Simon Grindrod in 2007, and a report of negatives about Cape Town Routes Unlimited, led the City to withdraw its funding of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, having been a 50 % funder of the body. In 2008 Cape Town Tourism was appointed to market Cape Town, and it was allocated the R25 million that would have gone to Cape Town Routes Unlimited. This led to a city and a provincial marketing body, each marketing Cape Town, and with overlap in marketing the province as well.
 
MEC Winde is proposing that tourism marketing for Cape Town and the Western Cape be centralised into Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and that this body change its name. It would be the primary body marketing Cape Town, and would be largely funded by the City of Cape Town. This, Cape Town Tourism’s Board believes, is turning back the clock, as Cape Town Routes Unlimited is exactly such a body established six years ago, and has failed. The MEC wants a single destination marketing organisation, a single marketing strategy, and a single brand (currently it is the mouthful of ‘Cape Town and Western Cape’). The MEC has also proposed that Cape Town Tourism market Cape Town domestically, while the province markets it internationally. Major events should be marketed by the province, and smaller localised events should be marketed by the relevant tourism body. Cape Town Tourism stated that it felt that the MEC’s proposal contained too much emphasis on structure, even though he himself has stated that Strategy should drive Structure, especially given that the MEC has specifically suggested that the Board of the new body be appointed by the Premier and the Mayor, once again politicising tourism marketing. In its carefully worded response to the MEC, the Board of Cape Town Tourism stated that it was important that the marketing of world cities such as Cape Town should be driven by international best practice.

 

It does not support the establishment of a single DMO, but rather would like to see distinct roles and responsibilities for the two parties. The tremendous success of Cape Town Tourism in marketing Cape Town and in dealing with the world’s media based in Cape Town during the World Cup demonstrates how successful the body is, and that it should not be re-engineered if it is working so well. Given that both bodies are spending taxpayers’ monies, it is expedient that such money not be wasted by creating a new structure.

  
Winde seems to be sweeping out all the cobwebs of the Western Cape, by uniting 18 development and marketing agencies into what is to be called the Western Cape Economic Development Agency, in order to grow the economy and thereby stimulate employment in the province, reports the Cape Argus. The Minister has not included Cape Town Tourism into the list of 18 agencies (yet)!
 
The Western Cape agencies that are to be united include the following: Cape Town Routes Unlimited (Western Cape tourism marketing agency), Wesgro (investment agency), Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster (develops programmes to benefit the local clothing textile industry), Cape Film Commission (marketing the Cape as a film destination), CallingtheCape (promotes the Cape as a Call-Centre centre), the Cape Music Industry Commission (promotes growth in local music industry), Cape Town Fashion Council, and Performing Arts Network South Africa (promotes and protects the performing arts). The amalgamation is planned to take place over the next four years, and is geared at countering fragmentation and wastage due to duplication. The model for the Minister’s new Agency is the London Development Agency.
 
For the past 2 months attempts at obtaining minutes of two Special General meetings called to change the Constitution of the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) have failed. We question what the Cape Whale Coast DMO is trying to hide by not making the minutes of the two meetings available, given that municipal funding generated from Overstrand ratepayers funds the organisation, and therefore transparency should rule! More than two years ago the Cape Whale Coast DMO was established by the Overstrand Municipality, which is responsible for the municipal services of the area stretching from Rooi Els in the west to Gansbaai in the east. The DMO is based in Hermanus, and half of the Board members are from Hermanus, under the Chairmanship of Clinton Lerm. When the Cape Whale Coast DMO was established, its constitution automatically made all business owners along the Overstrand members of the DMO, if they were paying rates and taxes. No membership fee was payable. The DMO’s main task, as per its name, was to market the Overstrand towns as a joint tourism destination and to manage the tourism bureaus in each of these towns. The same constitution contained a directive that a CEO would be appointed, to manage the DMO. This appointment still has not happened. This means that a Board of 14 Directors manages a Section 21 company with only one staff member, and therefore the directors of the Board have taken over management positions for the DMO. For example, Lerm’s mother Maxie handles Marketing and Public Relations for the DMO, and Clinton Lerm and Daniel Acker (a labour practitioner in Hermanus, with no tourism business interests) represented the DMO in May at the ITB tourism trade show in Berlin, and another in Russia (an insignificant tourism market for Hermanus!).
 
Earlier this year the DMO changed its initial Constitution, at a Special General meeting held on 8 March at the Lerm’s Misty Waves Hotel, with a resolution seconded by Chairman Clinton Lerm’s father and Director Maxie Lerm’s husband Henry (after a first Special General Meeting on 1 March had failed in not attracting a required quorum of 100 attendees). The change to the constitution was motivated to the DMO members on the basis of the changes made to the ‘Municipal Finances & Companies Act’ (no such Act exists - it is called the Municipal Financial Management Act, and it does not appear to contain any clauses that would have necessitated the constitutional changes made), the minutes of the meeting of 1 March stated! The major change was that Overstrand ratepayers no longer were automatically members of the DMO, and allowed the DMO to set up membership of its tourism body in competition to the tourism bureaus in the Overstrand area. What attracted attention to and the first criticism of the DMO was that the DMO has set up a kiosk near the key whale-watching area in Hermanus, from which it was taking accommodation bookings only for its members, and not for all members of the Overstrand tourism bureaus. These members were asked to pay a double membership, to belong to both bodies, yet each tourism bureau reports to the DMO, an unheard of model of tourism marketing, if Cape Town Routes Unlimited is the role model for the DMO.
  
Even more curiously, the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, which has an unfortunate location at the old railway station building, had to vacate its offices due to construction work close by, and was not given the kiosk so that it can be easily found by tourists requiring accommodation and other tourism information. Even more odd is that as a result of two competing tourism bodies in Hermanus, the town now has two whalecriers! The original whalecrier of Hermanus, who was an appointee of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, had his appointment terminated due to an offence, just as the DMO was heading for Berlin. Desperate to have a whalecrier on show, the DMO appointed the whalecrier, and took him to Berlin at short notice. He has been appointed by the DMO to man its kiosk, and the Hermanus Tourism Bureau has appointed its own whalecrier! Late last year we questioned the conflict of interest in Clinton Lerm in being both the Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau and of the DMO.
  
In July the DMO held its AGM, and on the basis of its constitutional amendment, it disallowed any Overstrand tourism bureau members from attending the meeting if they did not hold DMO membership, and were also not allowed to be nominated or elected to the Board of the DMO. This is when I started asking questions, requesting a copy of the DMO Constitution (previously freely available on the Overstrand website), and the minutes of the meetings approving the constitutional changes. An officious and somewhat threatening e-mail was received from the DMO, denying access to the Minutes without Board approval! Members of the tourism bureaus in the Overstrand simply want to be part of the DMO by virtue of their membership of the tourism bureaus, and that bookings will be taken at the kiosk for all members of tourism bureaus in the Overstrand at no charge of membership, but on payment of a commission. Neither the old nor the amended constitution of the Cape Whale Coast gives the DMO the duty to run a tourism bureau. Furthermore, the Constitution does not prescribe that nominees for the Board must be members of the DMO, nor does it prescribe that only DMO members can vote for the election of its Board of Directors, or on any other matter. Members furthermore question why the Misty Waves Hotel features so prominently as the venue of the DMO meetings, and how two co-owners of the hotel can serve on the DMO Board, one of them handling the PR and Marketing for the DMO. Whilst the Constitution defines the role of the Chairman of the DMO, it is questioned why Chairman Clinton Lerm, and not his mother Maxie, went to Berlin and Russia to represent the DMO, and why Daniel Acker had to go as well. The duplication in tourism offices and in whale criers is also questioned, all being wasteful expenses.
 
It would appear that pressure on Chairman Clinton Lerm may be leading to some changes, and it is rumoured that he has resigned as Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, due to the conflict of interests in heading both bodies. In an Hermanus Times article written by Clinton Lerm 2 weeks ago, it is announced that members of the Overstrand tourism bureaus will automatically become members of the DMO, once this constitutional change has been approved at a Special General meeting of the DMO. Taking bookings at the Market Square kiosk for all Overstrand tourism bureau members is also receiving the DMO’s consideration - we applaud the DMO for finally listening to their “customers”, and wonder why this was not dealt with correctly from the word go!
 
Given the dire straits in which the tourism industry finds itself, we are delighted that SA Tourism has such an active marketing programme for the next year. In the wake of the World Cup, which exposed South Africa to 1,26 billion TV viewers around the world, South Africa will be marketed by S A Tourism as the world’s leading adventure destination, said the Chief Marketing Officer of S A Tourism, Roshene Singh, at a presentation last month. The country’s R 800 million marketing budget will be focused on a number of different international and domestic marketing campaigns, to improve the country’s global competitiveness. Travellers that did not visit South Africa in June and July will be encouraged to feel that they missed out, and will be enticed to visit our country, given the country’s top infrastructure, great experiences and welcoming people. Existing international advertising campaigns on TV and in print, combined with cinema advertising, social media marketing (including a Blog and Twitter), online media, Public Relations and websites, will continue in the next year, creating a reach of 1,4 billion consumers. Domestically, the focus is on Sho’t left, and during Tourism Month, attractive travel packages will be rolled out for the next six months, to encourage South Africans to travel in their own country. Travelling will be built into the storyline of ‘Rhythm City’, an etv soapie, Twitter and Facebook communication, and sponsorship of the travel sections of You, Huisgenoot and Drum are further means of boosting domestic tourism. Domestic tourism is the ‘bread and butter” of the tourism industry, said Singh. A new international advertising campaign has been launched, consisting of four commercials, about four couples who visited South Africa during the World Cup, each of the four couples having enjoyed 20 experiences in 10 days. Asked when the boring, unexciting “It’s Possible” payoff line for South Africa will be replaced, it was promising to hear Singh indicate that the International Marketing Council is focusing on changing its positioning for South Africa, to “inspiring new and different ways”, which means that S A Tourism will adapt its payoff line to be aligned with that of the country. For more details of S A Tourism’s country-specific marketing and communications campaigns, read here.
   

The Olympic Bid for 2020 is on S A Tourism’s agenda, said new S A Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-McLean. Dirk Elzinga, new Chairman of FEDHASA Cape, reminded SA Tourism that Cape Town has added on 25% more hotel rooms in the past year, and that the city needs help in improving occupancy via events and conferences, which receive little focus from the marketing body, he felt.
 
We support the City of Cape Town’s Bid as Design Capital of the World 2014 -
read here for more details.

Article2

 

WHALE COTTAGE ‘CONTROVERSIAL’ SELECTION AS A FINALIST IN SA BLOG AWARDS

 

  
We are delighted to have been selected as a Finalist in the S A Blog Awards, in the Most Controversial Blog category, and thank our loyal blog readers and Twitter followers for their votes in making the Finalist selection possible.
  

Now we are like Idols contestants, in that we please request your vote for our Blog, to win in the category (there is no prize, just a badge that goes onto the blog). The Most Controversial Blog category is quite far down the list, and you need to please click on our blog name to vote, and then to scroll down to the bottom of the list, to enter your e-mail address. You are allowed to vote for us every 24 hours, per e-mail address, until the competition closes on 17 September. Please click onto the voting form on the left.
 
The Whale Cottage Blog had been nominated in a number of categories. Being a unique blog that does not fit fully into any specific category (e.g. Food, Travel), we were delighted to have made the finals. The Most Controversial Blog category is a new one, and it seems to have been made for us! We are in excellent company in this category, with 2Oceansvibe being a fellow finalist - last year its editor ‘Seth Rotherham’ won almost every category in the Blog Awards, and his blog became the benchmark for many of us (this year a blog can only be nominated in two categories). The rest of the Finalists’ list is a little more dubious, sex and swearing broadly summarising the content of the other blogs in the Most Controversial Blog category. It has not always been easy to be outspoken, and our story about
Carne falsely claiming that all its beef, lamb and game comes from its Karoo farm and is organic, has been our most controversial blog post in our two year history of blog-writing. It took investigative journalism of the bravest kind, and has resulted in the restaurant taking the dishonest claim off its website.

Article3

 

FOOD & WINE BLOGGERS’ CLUB PAIRS RELAX-WITH-DAX AND HEIN KOEGELENBERG OF LA MOTTE

 
  

The Food & Wine Bloggers Club, which we started earlier this year, is a great success, in ‘pairing’ food and wine bloggers as speakers at each monthly function. The Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines. Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learn from others. The Club gives fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge. Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers, and the Club meetings are informal and fun. The next Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place on Wednesday 22 September, from 6 - 8 pm, at the Salt Vodka Bar in Bantry Bay, and will pair Dax Villanueva of Relax with Dax blog, and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and of Hein on Wine blog. Snacks will be served, and La Motte wines will be provided. A tasting of new South African Primitiv vodka will be a special treat. Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com
 
The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club August meeting held at Brio restaurant was a huge success, with Haut Espoir wines tasted, and Rob Armstrong of the wine estate and Sam Wilson of Food24 informing and entertaining the food and wine bloggers attending. Cape Town was highlighted by Rob as seeing an “explosion” of food and wine writing, mainly via bloggers, which is not evident in other areas in South Africa. Sam Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Food24, Woman24 and Parent 24, challenged bloggers to find their “barrier of authenticity”, in that each blogger should define how far one can go. “How much of you do you want to be?” she asked the bloggers. She argued for honesty in blogging, and for not following the magazine route of “selling out”, in only writing good restaurant reviews. Sam advised bloggers to be humble and honest in their writing. She reminded bloggers to not take their blogging too seriously, and not be too earnest, but rather enjoy it and to blog for fun. Half of Haut Espoir is planted with vines, and the other half with 600 - 700 fynbos species. Rob writes a “Fynbos Friday” post about the wonderful plants they have on their farm.
 
Free-lance writer and second-most read South African food blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs, writing the Scrumptious South Africa blog, described food bloggers as “desperate for attention”, at the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting at Café Max in July, and their genre of writing can be called “vanity publishing”, she said. The bloggers present felt that this description probably applies to bloggers across the board! Jane-Anne said that through social media, “opinion has been democratised”, creating a serious threat for traditional media, with their short lead times in publishing restaurant reviews, or food information, compared to traditional magazine and newspaper publishing. She started her blog three years ago, and it reflects her love for cooking and for developing recipes. While one may not get financial reward out of a blog, especially if one does not accept advertising, which is Jane-Anne’s policy, she feels that she is adding value to her readers, and she receives emotional, intellectual and entertainment satisfaction from writing her blog. She advised that food blogs must focus on accuracy in terms of ingredients and method of preparation, but also in terms of spelling and grammar. Online integrity is vital, and one must trust one’s palate in expressing what one experiences, even if it is not the popular view. While content is king, a “yummy and descriptive” headline is vital in attracting readers into the content, and photographs should be of a “reasonable quality”. Jane-Anne feels that it is sad to see so many young people’s idea of food and cooking being shaped by chefs and cookery book writers such as Ramsay, Lawson and Oliver, without them having exposure to a more classic cooking culture. With her Scrumptious blog, Jane-Anne hopes to broaden their cooking knowledge.
 
Mike Ratcliffe is probably the most experienced social media marketing wine marketer, and impressed with the different tools he referred to and uses: Blogging, Twitter, FourSquare, Twideo, Google Maps Latitude, and Nice to Meet You. He writes a Vilafonte and a Warwick blog, being the Managing Partner of the former, and the Managing Director of the latter brand. Mike advised bloggers to be responsible in their blogging, as one influences views. One must check one’s information sources, and not use a blog as a platform for retaliation. If one disappoints one’s readers, they will no longer follow the blogger. A blog is successful when one is passionate about one’s topic, and about writing. Mike claims that his marketing is spontaneous and dynamic, but one gets the impression that Mike Ratcliffe knows exactly what he is doing in marketing his brands.
 
A lively entertaining debate about how opinionated bloggers can be in their blogs about their restaurant experiences was created when well-known food alchemist Pete Goffe-Wood, owner of Wild Woods Restaurant, Eat Out Top 10 restaurant judge, restaurant consultant, and owner of the Kitchen Cowboys cookery school for men addressed the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting at the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in early July. Goffe-Wood said that he started blogging as an extension to his writing for the Food page in GQ magazine. He does not rely on his Kitchen Cowboy blog to make money, but instead he uses it to express his passion about food, and his opinions about issues relating to the restaurant industry, e.g. pricing of wines, corkage, restaurant reviews. It is clear that Goffe-Wood enjoys opinionated bloggers, who do not shy away from expressing their views, and who stand by what they write. A blog that did not carry criticism about restaurants, and that only said good things about good restaurants would not have depth, in his opinion, and would not be a benefit to the restaurant industry. Goffe-Wood clearly does not like food blogs with recipes, which he disparagingly described as having beautifully styled photographs, but with “inane writing and inane recipes”. He himself would never write about recipes on his blog. He also criticised bloggers who had nothing new to say, and who cut and paste the work of other writers.
 
Pieter Ferreira has been making MCC sparkling wines at Graham Beck for the past 20 years, and is called “Pieter Bubbles” by his friends, and writes a blog called “Bubbles on Wine”. His blog grew out of his Tweeting, which he does during his day to day activities on the Graham Beck Robertson and Franschhoek farms. The Tweets become a reminder for him about his experiences during the day, and these he can put into his blog on a later occasion. He likes to put other writers’ interesting stories on his blog, and also to share exceptional experiences at restaurants, or about a special bottle of wine. While his blog is a personal one, he is blogging mainly about Graham Beck brands, and therefore it benefits the wine estate as the blog posts will be found via Google searches. Ferreira’s bubblies are so outstanding that Nelson Mandela chose Graham Beck Cap Classique for his inauguration. Many years later, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle celebrated their inauguration with the same brand.

Article4
 

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY FEELS PINCH WITH CLOSURES, YET NEW ONES OPEN

 
  

There is always news from the Restaurant industry, and the 23 September announcement of the Top 20 list of restaurants, from which the Top 10 list will be announced at a gala dinner on 28 November, is eagerly awaited. We have done a prediction of which restaurants the Top 20 list could include: Rust en Vrede (chef David Higgs), Overture (chef Bertus Basson), Mosaic Restaurant (chef Chantel Dartnall), The Roundhouse (chef PJ Vadal), Restaurant Christophe (chef Christophe Dehosse), The Greenhouse at the Cellars (chef Peter Tempelhoff) , Jardine’s (chef Eric Bulpitt), Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine (chef George Jardine), Bizerca Bistro (chef Laurent Deslandes), Terroir (chef Michael Broughton), The Tasting Room (chef Margot Janse), and Grande Provence (chef Darren Roberts). To this list will be added restaurants from Johannesburg and KwaZulu Natal, to make up the list of 20. Other potential Top 20 short-listed restaurants could include The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West, Bistro 1682 at Steenberg, Delaire restaurant at Delaire Graff, 95 Keerom Street and Bosman’s at Grande Roche (once the top restaurant in the country, but it has been left off the shortlist for so many years now).
 

Motivations for our Top 20 selection, restaurants we see falling off the Top 20 list, and potential Top 20 finalists in 2011 can be read here (it is important to note that Eat Out specifies that a chef must have been with a restaurant for a year, to be selected for consideration for this prestigious award, the “Oscar” of the Restaurant industry):

 

We note the excellent quality restaurants that have opened in Stellenbosch, challenging Franschhoek’s Gourmet Capital status. More Eat Out Top 10 restaurant are in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture and Terroir) than in Franschhoek (The Tasting Room and The Restaurant at Grande Provence). Stellenbosch has always been the best marketed collective wine region, and was the first to introduce the Wine Route concept, which has been adopted by most wine-growing regions now. I believe that the tourism authority should be ahead of the game, and introduce a Stellenbosch Restaurant Route (see our list of Stellenbosch restaurants), given the wealth of its creative and gourmet talent.

 

The biggest restaurant news in the past six weeks was the termination of the contract by the One&Only Cape Town with maze, the Gordon Ramsay restaurant. The exciting news is that Sol Kerzner has signed with Reuben Riffel, and Reuben’s at the One&Only will open on 1 October.

 

Restaurant closures continue, and the latest victims are shu in Green Point, Vista Mare and Cape Town Fish Market in Camps Bay, Ginja, Bouillabaisse and The Brasserie in Franschhoek, Yum in Vredehoek, and Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay. It appears that Camil’s in Green Point has also closed. Madame Zingara has moved her Spiegelpaleis tent to Johannesburg.
  
 
Despite the number of restaurants closing down, brave new ones have opened: Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side); Liquorice and Lime has taken over the other half of ex-Riboville (on the St George’s Mall side); Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street in Gardens; Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek; Spiros has opened in Hout Bay; La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise; Gesellig has opened in Sea Point; Indochine has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch; The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch.; The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch; De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch; Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork; Sommelier Restaurant has re-opened, after a two-year closure, at Sante Hotel & Wellness Centre - we were shocked at how badly things are being run here; Pierneef à la Motte opened ten days ago at La Motte in Franschhoek, and with it a new Pierneef Gallery, Rupert Museum, new tasting Centre, and a general art gallery,a most outstanding project; Maison in Franschhoek is opening a restaurant in its new cellar early next year ; Etienne Bonthuys (ex Tokara) is set to open a restaurant on Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.
  
Changes to existing restaurants have been the following:
Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where The Showroom/Portofino used to be; Mason’s Cafe and Grill has opened where Cafe Gainsbourg used to be; Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant and is doing wine and food pairing evenings with wineries in Franschhoek; Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant; Cafe Rouge in Franschhoek has been renamed Chez d’Or; Richard Carstens has left Chez d’Or in Franschhoek, and will be the Executive Chef and Wilhelm Kuehn the owner of Tokara Restaurant in Stellenbosch, from October; Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek; Cafe des Arts has taken over Topsi’s in Franschhoek; Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor; Chef School owner Kevin Warwick has taken over Kate’s Village in Hermanus, now called The Class Room; Luigi’s from Hout Bay is said to be opening where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay.
  
Other restaurant reviews we have written recently include:
Saffron Restaurant at Abalone House in Paternoster; A Tavola in Claremont; The Kove in Camps Bay; Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine; Five Flies in the city centre; Societi Bistro in the city; Pepperclub on the Beach in Camps Bay; 1800 Restaurant at the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel; Restaurant at Majeka House; Oskar’s Delikatessen in Hermanus; Nook in Stellenbosch; La Petite Tarte in De Waterkant; Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador; Piroschka’s Kitchen in town; Charley’s Bakery in town; Oep ve Eet in Paternoster, and Myoga in Newlands.
 
It is commendable that so many restaurants in Cape Town and in the Western Cape are holding their winter special prices until the end of this month.
See the list of specials.

Article5

 

GOOGLE GOES FOR A DRIVE IN THE WINELANDS

 
  

Google Street View and Google Maps are two products that will change the world of marketing, wine estate owners and marketers were told at a recent presentation. South Africa is the first African country in which Google has introduced the technology, and the South African wine estates are the first in the world to have been included on Google Street View.

  

Google Street View is the largest photographic project in the world. Google Maps has already covered 100 countries in 350000 maps, in 40 languages. Google Street View was launched in South Africa just before the World Cup. Google Maps provides summary information about a wine estate. Google Street View cars (or even bicycles), with a massive camera on them, take photographs as they drive down roads, which are then processed to put them onto Google Maps. To protect the privacy of the public, Google blurs car registration numbers and faces of persons who may have been walking while the photographs were taken.

 

The imagery is not real-time once it is accessed on Google Maps, given the time that is needed to process the photographs. Google states that it respects the laws and norms re privacy on Google Maps, an issue that is being hotly debated in Germany at the moment. If a resident finds his/her visual on Google Maps, even if the image is blurred, they can request it to be removed completely.

 
Google Street View allows users to virtually explore and navigate a localised area through panoramic street-level photographs. A Street View button needs to be clicked on the Google Maps, one clicks onto a camera icon above a city, and then zooms in. One can see a 360 degree panorama of that specific area, so good and real that one almost does not have to go there as one has seen it on Google Street View already! Not only can one find the exact location of where one is going for a meeting, for example, but one can also see which coffee shops and parking garages are close by. One can check out the real environment of a hotel one has booked at, which might be hidden in the photographs provided by the hotel in its Image Gallery, possibly due to its location close to a noisy or ugly part of town.

 

Wine estates that are on Google Street View are Warwick Wine Estate, Vilafonte, De Wetshof, Fairview, Paul Cluver, Rustenberg, Meerlust, Morgenster, Bouchard Finlayson, Jordan Winery, Klein Constantia, Journey’s End, and Groote Post. Leading Johannesburg wine consultant Juliet Cullinan endorsed the Google Street View application for wine estates, saying that this is the first opportunity South Africa has to launch top wine estates, icon wines, and the best wine cellars, and is the closest one can bring the consumer to a winemaker, and ‘almost’ get them to taste the wine on-line. Mike Ratcliffe from Warwick and Vilafonte wines, one of the most tech-savvy wine marketers in South Africa, has embraced Google Street View, and he encouraged his wine colleagues to embrace Google Street View, as it gives the South African wine industry an edge, before it is adopted by wine regions in other countries.

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SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS

 
  

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to info@whalecottage.com. Winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of the WhaleTales blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

 

The latest Sweet Service Awards winners are the following:

 

Franschhoek Uncorked, for a wonderful weekend of food, wine and fun ... read more

Vineyard Hotel, for the invitation to a Garden Tour ... read more
Artscape, for giving young classical performers the opportunity to perform with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra ... read more
Exclusive Books in Sea Point, for staying open longer ... read more

Vineyard Hotel, for service recovery by Rick Taylor, after poor restaurant service ... read more

Kulula.com, for exceptional customer service ... read more
Franschhoek Motors, for replacing a recently repaired clutch ... read more
Capetonians, for taking part in Madiba Unity Fan Walk ... read more
Mercedes Benz Culemborg, for service recovery ... read more
England soccer fans, for taking their World Cup defeat so well ... read more
15 on Orange, for making good in not having Cape Velvet or Baileys in the house ... read more
Vida e Caffe in Camps Bay, for always being friendly and efficient ... read more

Grande Provence, for the generosity of F&B Manager Donovan Dreyer ... read more

South Africans, for their kindness and gees during the World Cup ... read more

Allee Bleue, for offering us coffee, even though the restaurant had closed early ... read more

 

The Sour Service Awards in the last two months went to the following:
 

Planet Bar at the Mount Nelson Hotel, for poor service ... read more

Clicks, for poor and rude customer service ... read more
Col’Cacchio Foreshore, for poor service ... read more
Woolworths, for their dishonesty in a recent cheese promotion ... read more
Pick ‘n Pay Express, for poor service in paying accounts via EasyPay ... read more
SAA, for hiking its international prices ... read more

Value Car Hire, for fraudulently booking money off a credit card without permission .. read more

Parking guards in the city centre, for their aggressive behaviour ... read more
Paarl Motors, for not accepting a cheque in payment ... read more
African Eagle, for poor service to World Cup tourists ... read more
Grand Daddy Hotel, whose staff took a guest car for a drive and crashed it ... read more
McDonalds in Green Point, for their poor service during the World Cup ... read more
Lime Media, for pressurising guest houses to do marketing on Google ... read more
Sky News, and to Emma Hurd specifically, for the negative coverage prior to the start of the World Cup ... read more
Nedbank Sea Point, for not providing the correct change when exchanging old R 200 notes for new ones ... read more
 
WHALE COTTAGE
FRANSCHHOEK

  
WHALE COTTAGE
HERMANUS

  

WHALE COTTAGE
PLETTENBERG BAY


      

   
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