Cape Wine, hosted by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), is back after four years with a significant commitment from producers keen to showcase the major advances in local winemaking to the international trade fraternity of wine buyers, restaurateurs, sommeliers and media.
The three-day trade exhibition, to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from September 25 to 27, has already drawn strong support from two-thirds of the country’s winemakers, including the major corporates, independents and artisanal producers who have confirmed their participation.
According to WOSA CEO Su Birch delegates will be coming from across Europe, the UK, North America, as well as Africa, Latin America, Hong Kong, China and Japan. “We are thrilled at the better than ever response from Asia and Africa, in particular.”
Birch, who has been CEO of WOSA since 2000, was recently honoured by UK wine market research company, Wine Intelligence as one of the world’s top ten personalities in wine, for her “instrumental role” in developing South Africa’s wine-producing reputation.
She said the 2012 business exhibition would be reviewing the massive advances in wine-growing, winemaking, and wine marketing made by South Africa since the opening of the country to world trade 20 years ago and would be featuring top names amongst established and new-generation vintners.
“In addition to an array of tastings, seminars and workshops, the programme will cover changes in wine styles, producers’ response to climate change and the management of scarce natural resources, as well as the protection of old vines as part of the industry’s heritage.”
She believed the already high level of interest in Cape Wine 2012 from both exhibitors and visitors, at this early stage, almost six months ahead of the opening, was due to a combination of several factors. “Despite its relatively short history as a participant in international wine markets, South Africa has distinguished itself both in terms of quality and pioneering programmes to promote eco-sustainability. This has earned global recognition for the country on both fronts, from the market and environmentalists, particularly in recent years.
“We are also very fortunate that we have built is a solid reputation for Cape Wine as a leading trade exhibition. Our past events have been described by some prominent delegates as the most successful of their kind anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere, from both a presentation and logistics point of view.
“We took a break from our bi-ennial cycle with South Africa’s hosting of soccer’s FIFA World Cup in 2010 so local winemakers are excited to showcase their portfolios after an interval of four years in which many have made significant strides.
“Another feature to generate widespread interest in the show is the strong accent on environmental sustainability, in keeping with the country’s very progressive approach to eco-friendly winemaking. We are believed to be the first wine exhibition worldwide to offer recyclable stands to the majority of exhibitors. The locally manufactured high-strength, repulpable composite fibre boards we are using are free of virgin-tree fibres and are fully collapsible for re-use by exhibitors at other events.”
Birch said the green theme was being translated into many facets of the show. Delegates were being accommodated within walking distance of the exhibition and would offset their flights by buying indigenous trees for planting the Winelands.
The evening before the show, September 24, would be devoted to a “green tie” party held at the V&A Waterfront, where wines would be matched with an array of local dishes.
WOSA’s Wine Link facility would give delegates advance access to a fully searchable database to plan their visits and even organise customised lists of wines for tasting from specific regions, styles and price points, she said.
To co-incide with Cape Wine 2012, a partnership of South African tourism bodies, working in concert with the wine industry, will host Vindaba, a trade exhibition of the country’s impressive range of wine tourism offerings. Presented during the same period and also at the CTICC, the initiative involves SA Tourism as well as the various Wine Routes, Cape Town Tourism, Cape Town Routes Unlimited and the Department of Finance, Tourism and Economic Development of the Western Cape.