Wine tourism is on the rise. Picture by Renee Moodie

Wine tourists travelling to the Western Cape can expect a world class grape and experience more of them are coming to town.

The convenor of the annual Business of Wine and Food Tourism, Margi Biggs says wine tourists in the Western Cape are increasingly opting for guided tours with a growing preference for tailor-made itineraries to suit their specific interests 

Sourcing her information from Wesgro’s recent Wine & Food Tourism Study, Biggs believes that greater insights into travellers’ needs will unlock still further growth in this fast-expanding sector of South Africa’s travel industry. 

“Wesgro research shows a year-on-year growth in wine tourism of 16% in 2017, thanks to the rising reputation of the Western Cape’s wines, the region’s increasingly innovative offerings, as well as its varied and exciting customised cellar door experiences," says Biggs.

She adds: “But as an industry, we’ve only tapped the surface.  There is still so much more potential to be unleashed, particularly now that we have access to big data and the deep learnings its analysis can bring. With more nuanced understanding of consumer preferences, their spending and other behavioural patterns, it becomes easier to address their needs and to do so in a way that is far more customised." 

With this in mind, Biggs has secured US-based big data wine specialist Cathy Huyghe as this year’s headline speaker for the conference, which takes place on October 17 at Spier in Stellenbosch. 

This will be the first visit to South Africa of Huyghe, who is also a wine columnist for Forbes and who has written for the Harvard Business Review. Co-founder and CEO of Enolytics LLC, she consults globally on big data to wine companies, is a digital media specialist and has authored wine books.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit