Cape Town - The Stellenbosch wine route is not only one of the best in the world, but now has proven to be a leader in the wine tourism industry too.
For the second consecutive year the Stellenbosch wine route, divided into five sub-routes, won Best Promotional Body prize at the Wine Tourism Awards 2015, organised by the Drinks International magazine.
The renowned global drink journal also praised the interactive StellenBlog, which was launched last year in co-operation with the route’s tourism unit, Stellenbosch 360.
Annareth Bolton, chief executive of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, was glad that their innovative tourism strategies for the local wine region were recognised internationally.
“Research has shown that more and more visitors opt for experimental, multidimensional destinations and memorable experiences rather than merely being passive spectators when on leisure or business trips, and Stellenbosch certainly has it all and more,” Bolton said.
The wine route is South Africa’s largest, with more than 150 members. One of them is the Muratie Wine Estate and its managing director, Rijk Melck, is sure that wine producers will benefit from the wine tourism award’s spin-off.
“It speaks for itself that they gave them the gold medal again. On behalf of all wine estates of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, I want to say that the team is doing a great job and that we are proud to be part of this initiative,” Melck said.
Annemarie Ferns, chief executive of Stellenbosch 360, added: “A major drawcard of Stellenbosch is its people, and the town cradles no less than six neighbouring communities: Cloetesville, Idas Valley, Jamestown, Kayamandi, Klapmuts and Raithby.
“Through our responsible tourism initiatives, these communities take centre stage to showcase the abundance of inherent talent, natural resources and authentic offerings that make Stellenbosch such a memorable destination.”
But Stellenbosch’s ambitions go beyond just claiming the title of South Africa’s wine capital.
As stated by Bolton, the town yielded four of the 2014 Eat Out top 10 restaurants, which “highlights the area’s growing trend of good quality restaurants opening their doors on wine farms and our town’s booming success as a top wine and dine destination”.
Melck said: “Wine tourism in the Stellenbosch region is not only about sales, but includes the restaurant sector, architecture, culture and so much more. Together, we offer tourists fantastic opportunities.”