South Africa held its own at the at the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards with Stellenbosch’s Delaire Graff Estate epitomising the best of local wine.
After being named the overall South African winner, Delaire Graff joined wineries from around the world as representatives of the best wine that the countries have to offer.
The event took place in Bilbao, Spain and saw Delaire Graff nab first place in both the Art & Culture and Wine Tourism Restaurants categories. This comes as no surprise, as Laurence Graff’s art collection is renowned; as are the estate’s restaurants.
Wines of South Africa‘s André Morgenthal, who leads the South African chapter of this global wine tourism competition, explained that the competition between local wineries was tough, due to the ever-increasing standards of wine tourism.
“Wine tourists are asking more and tougher questions. Just knowing the tasting notes of your own wine range is not enough. Participants are judged on general wine knowledge, while things like environmental sustainability, ethics and broader knowledge about the region are now required. The best players are looking at finer details and are being rewarded for that,” said Morgenthal.
Wineries have dedicated themselves to including options for everyone. Interesting pairings, such as tea and cupcake pairings, can be found and non-alcoholic options are becoming increasingly available.
“Because we live here, I think we have become accustomed to it, but foreign tourists are astounded by the hospitality and sheer friendliness of our people. That is something that can’t be imitated and it’s indeed something to be very proud of,” said Morgenthal.
SA continued to impress as a number of other wineries won in other categories. Villiera Wines was awarded for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices, La Motte Wine Estate for Wine Tourism Service, Cavalli Wine & Stud Farm for Architecture and Landscapes, Boschendal Estate for Accommodation, and Creation Wines for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences.
Overall, SA proved that it’s a worthy contender in the industry.