Stellenbosch squeezes most out of its 2015 Wine Festival, poor website!


Stellenbosch Wine FestivalBilled as a three-day event but stretching over a week, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay draws to a close today, with a feast of events offered.  It is the largest wine festival in the country, and the oldest.  The media blurb proudly brags that the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presents the best of Stellenbosch’s ‘great wine, gourmet food, breathtakingly beautiful nature, and performances by some of South Africa’s most popular musicians‘.

Held at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds since Friday, 200 wines of 148 wine estates that make up the Stellenbosch Wine Routes are available to taste, creating a ‘virtual wine route‘.  The Pick ‘n Pay Wine Shop will sell Stellenbosch wines to drink at the Festival, to take home, or to ship back to one’s home destination.   Winemakers from Waterford Estate, Spier, Kleine Zalze, and Villiera will host 30 minute sessions on food and wine pairing exclusively to Pick ‘n Pay Smartcard holders.

The Gourmet Lane reflects Stellenbosch’s domination of the South African restaurant scene, being the Culinary Capital.  Each restaurant, based on a wine estate, pairs one signature dish of the chef with a top wine of the wine estate.  Restaurants included are Wild Peacock Emporium, Blaauwklippen, Eaglevlei, Brampton, Clos Malverne, Spier, and Bistro 13 at Stellenbosch Vineyards.

Live music today will be by Jeremy Olivier from 13h00 – 15h00, and by Kahn Morbee of the Parlotones from 16h00 – 18h00. Art linked to the Festival can be seen at De Waal Wines, hosting an exhibition of Stellenbosch artists; and at Equus Gallery at Cavalli Wine & Stud Estate, with about 50 artists honouring the end of The Year of The Horse.  The 8 km Momentum Grape MTB Ride takes place early this morning.

Earlier this week a Harvest Parade, Street Festival, Longridge Langtafel meal, and Grape Golf Challenge took place as part of the Festival.

The Barrel Room is a dedicated VIP area, in which Festival goers can get away from the hustle and bustle of the Festival.  It offers VIP parking, a cocktail lounge, a private bar, canapés, and waitron service.

Shocking is to see the poor writing on the website of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, on its FAQ page in particular.  It describes Stellenbosch as being part of Cape Town, does not know the exact name of the Festival venue, nor how to spell it!  It provides no Social Media details for the Festival!  Very little media information has been available, and we had to find the information from its website, not having received any media releases.

POSTSCRIPT 2/2:  I called the Stellenbosch Wine Routes offices today, to complain about a sharply worded Direct Message I received on Twitter from @StellWineFest : ‘Hi Chris, we notice that you’ve repeatedly tweeted this link yesterday and then again today? Is there something we can do to sort this out?’ I got through to Annareth Bolton, the CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, and asked her who had done the Wine Festival Tweeting.  She said it was a team of persons, but mainly World Sport. We spoke about the exclusion from their media list, and she told me that there is no prerogative for them to invite any specific writers!  She also asked me if it had been necessary to make such a ‘big fuss‘ by writing and Tweeting this blogpost, not recognising the PR value of the bulk of its content!  She asked me why I had not alerted them to the errors on the website, and I explained that no one would have been at the office late on Saturday evening when I wrote the blogpost.  She was not a good ambassador for the Stellenbosch Wine Routes today!  The promise on Twitter from @StellWineFest yesterday that they would contact me today was an empty one, there being no communication.

Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay, Coetzenburg Sports Grounds, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 886-4310.  Twitter: @StellWineFest 30 January – 1 February. Sunday 10h00 – 18h00 R170

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here

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