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The 2010 Cape Town ‘Best Of’ Winery Tourism awards ceremony took place on November 25 at Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch.

Clarence Johnson, deputy mayor of the Winelands District Municipality, who is also the immediate past president of the Great Wine Capitals organisation, said the judges were impressed by the advances made in the quality of local offerings.

“Despite the recession, they found little evidence of cutting corners. If anything, they noticed an even greater effort by competitors to draw custom in an environment of narrowing disposable income.”

“These winners demonstrated a capacity to face down the credit crisis by offering better value, enhancing the quality of their experiences, innovatively focusing on local highlights in the natural environment, in cuisine, arts, crafts and culture and by paying extra attention to detail.”

[Photo: Rust en Vrede, the 2010 global winner from Cape Town in the Restaurant category]

“The judges were also especially gratified by the growing sense of collaboration amongst competitors and their desire to work with their neighbours in building regional awareness.”

“Although Stellenbosch dominated the category winners, we are pleased to see other regions well represented. More importantly, category winners reflect a diversity of offerings, from the most luxurious to the readily accessible.”

South Africa’s local category winners for 2010 were:

Restaurant: Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch (http://www.rustenvrede.com)

Selected for the excellence of its restaurant run by chef David Higgs, Rust en Vrede is a first-time winner of the annual ‘Best Of’ Wine Tourism Awards. The winery, owned by Jean Engelbrecht, was recently in the limelight when its winemaker, Coenie Snyman was judged this year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year.

Art and Culture: Vergelegen in Somerset West, was twice judged South Africa’s overall winner in the past. The historic Helderberg estate is one of the country’s oldest, having been founded in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel. It is known for its award-winning wines, but has also been recognised for its environmental initiatives and maintaining its extensive 18th century gardens, historic buildings and library. (http://www.vergelegen.co.za/Content_1010000000_heritage.htm

Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices: Cloof of Darling (http://www.cloof.co.za) for its eco-friendly initiatives and festivals and entertainment attracting a broad spectrum of visitors.

Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences: Robertson Wine Valley (http://www.robertsonwinevalley.com) for its four annual festivals that have served to build the profile and elevate the status of the region.

Wine Tourism Services: Waterford Estate (http://www.waterfordestate.co.za) in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley near Stellenbosch and a previous overall winner, Waterford was lauded for the excellence of its service, especially for innovative experiences, including the wine and chocolate tasting.

Accommodation: The Devon Valley Hotel (http://www.devonvalleyhotel.com) outside Stellenbosch, not only for the quality of its hospitality but for promoting the range of wine tourism offerings in the area. The hotel was a previous winner in the same category.

Architecture: Grande Provence Estate in Franschhoek for its 300 year-old Cape Dutch manor house and restaurant, art gallery, shop and luxury accommodations. (http://www.grandeprovence.co.za)

Deputy mayor Johnson added that the judges had also commended several domestic contenders for the outstanding quality of their entries, including Greatest Cape Wine Tours, Almenkerk, KWV, Seidelberg, Delheim and Rustenberg. “That the awards are attracting entries from well-established and newer contenders underscores their relevance in building the Cape’s wine tourism.”

For information about the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, follow this link


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