From audio-guided walking tours, augmented reality to impressive apps, the South African wine industry is embracing the digital age.
Many of the leading wine industry leaders are finding ways to push the digital frontier.
Groot Constantia Wine Estate has incorporated audio guided walks for guests to explore the estate at their own pace. All you have to do is install the VoiceMap app, available on the Google Play and iOS App Store.
Once you sign in, select Cape Town and choose between the three audio tours available at the wine estate. Start with a museum tour, then proceed to the vineyard and end with a cellar tour.
Groot Constantia launched an affordable Visitor Route tour last year, to focus on the estate’s key attractions.The route includes the Manor House and the famed Cloete Cellar, which is the original wine production cellar from 1791.
Cathedral Peak Wine Estate, located in Central Drakensberg, is one of the few wine establishments in KwaZulu-Natal. The estate has incorporated the use of FlexCube, which is designed to produce high-quality wine. FlexCubes, also known as New Generation Barrels, uses the latest innovation in winemaking and separates the elements of oxygen and oak, to increase control and consistency.
According to WineLand - Boschendal, Kaapzicht, Hartenberg and Durbanville Hills are among the wine estates that use these new generation barrels.
Wine tourism portal, Visit Winelands, was launched in 2017 to attract international and local travellers to South Africa. The comprehensive website looks at South African Wine Routes, from Franschhoek to Hermanus to Wellington. The portal allows travellers to plan their wine excursions in minutes.
Another website, Explore Sideways, curates off-the-beaten wine experiences for travellers. A list of food and wine and cultural experts curate the best wine escapes, from food and wine pairings to vineyard tours on 4x4.
Ian Haggie, of Explore Sideways, said the experiences were less conventional. On South African wine estates embracing technology, he said: “There are certain wine estates that are pushing the boundaries when it comes to embracing technology. Some use drone photography, while others implement solar power and cellar technology to enhance the traveller experience”.
Thanks to augmented reality, people do not have to leave their home to enjoy a wine experience. Mensa is the first South African wine that is supported by an augmented reality app for Android and iOS - The Mensa Wine app. The application, launched by Overhex Wines International, is easy to operate. People scan their Mensa wine bottle using the app on their smartphone.
The scanned bottle will reveal a story that travellers can read, while they enjoy their glass of wine. Wine23 is another app that makes discovering and exploring South African wine easier. The app allows users to view tasting notes and helps wine lovers navigate the complex world of wine.