* South Africa’s 2015 wine harvest commenced two weeks earlier than usual, and was 1% smaller than in 2014, according to VinPro, representing 3000 grape growers and wine cellars. ‘The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks’, said Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service. It has also been described as one of the ‘healthiest in years’, with almost no disease or rot. Record crops were achieved in Worcester.
Table Mountain was officially inaugurated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature this morning. To celebrate the occasion and to thank Capetonians for their support, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company ran a 50% discounted ticket special for a week.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company spent three years campaigning for sms and internet votes, claiming that it received 100 million votes from 200 countries. The majestic mountain, an icon not only for Cape Town but for all of South Africa, is 360 million years old, and is one of the oldest mountains in the world, even older than the Himalayas. Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ex-President FW de Klerk both backed the campaign.
The unveiling of the plaque will be celebrated at a concert at the Grand Parade this afternoon as part of the Cape Town Festive Lights celebration. The Christmas lights will be switched on by Mayor Patricia de Lille at 20h00.
In the Table Mountain Cableway advertorial in the Atlantic Sun, the Mayor is quoted as saying: “This title will bring tremendous economic and socio-economic benefits to our city and our country”. As our City has had the accolade for a year already, at first unofficially, it is clear that the Mayor’s statement makes for good PR but is completely misleading, as the City’s poor tourism arrivals show! Last month was the poorest November since 2008!
POSTSCRIPT 2/12: The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company’s claim that they have had the best November in ten years as a result of the New7Wonders is a misleading claim, given the strongly discounted entrance fee for one of the four weeks this year, and is largely weather based too, there obviously being fewer weather closure days this year than before. November is a ‘popular’ south easter wind month, leading to the Cableway being closed if the wind exceeds a certain wind speed.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage