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Stellenbosch embarks on wine tourism campaign

by Destinate News on 19.01.2014

South Africa’s first and foremost wine destination, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, has embarked on a dynamic wine tourism marketing initiative – the Stellenbosch Wine Experience - in collaboration with Stellenbosch 360. The initiative, which covers the greater Stellenbosch region and the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, aims to position Stellenbosch as the leading wine tourism destination in Africa, and amongst the top in the world.

“Stellenbosch is one of the most significant landmarks of the Cape and although it has a well established tourism and wine legacy, being the oldest town and wine route in the country, there is a great need for closer partnership between the wine and tourism industries supported by a dynamic marketing programme and campaign,” said Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Lanzerac Estate is a 300 year old wine estate in Stellenbosch. A plethora of indoor and outdoor attractions and activities for all ages are all within close proximity to the Estate. Galleries and museums, golf courses, nature trails and hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding and wildlife experiences are just some of the endless opportunities.

The initiative is spearheaded by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, founder of Destinate, a specialised destination and marketing agency launched in 2013 after a successful ten-year stint as the CEO of Cape Town Tourism. Under her leadership, Cape Town Tourism won critical acclaim as a Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) and was formally recognised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its ‘world best practice tourism organisational model and innovative initiatives in destination marketing’.

“The potential of wine tourism in South Africa is significant, but then a far greater and more aligned effort should be made on a local, regional, national and international level to promote wine tourism. This will hold great benefit for both the tourism and wine sectors and add to South Africa’s overall appeal as a destination,” said Du Toit-Helmbold.

At Delaire Graff Estate the focus remains firmly on producing food that reflects the very best of local, ethically sourced ingredients, some of which are picked daily from the estate’s own biodynamic greenhouse and vegetable gardens by South African born chef, Christiaan Campbell.

Stellenbosch 360 is committed to working with Stellenbosch Wine Routes and the wine and tourism sectors to position Stellenbosch as one of the top wine tourism regions in the world," said Annemarie Ferns, CEO of Stellenbosch 360.

"The Stellenbosch Wine Experience campaign will not only grow the wine tourism sector, but will benefit the region at large. We will be able to make a much bigger impact through this joint venture using our limited resources available for destination marketing more effectively,” she added.

Harvest time in Stellenbosch (Jan - March) is a great time to experience the vibrancy of the Winelands. Promoting wine tourism more effectively will benefit the region and its people.

Taking Stellenbosch to the world

The programme and campaign kicks off at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival on 24 January 2014 with the launch of a new interactive wine tourism focused mini-website and blog called StellenBlog. The region and participating marketing partners will then be represented at ITB, Berlin in March for the international launch of the Stellenbosch Wine Experience to the world's top travel trade and media followed by the Tourism Indaba in May.

Other elements include a themed annual communication plan to enhance the regional offering and events; an enhanced digital presence across all social media networks and an innovative wine tourism blogger campaign with top international and national travel, lifestyle and food bloggers between April and September.

Growing domestic tourism and improving visitor numbers over winter are important objectives. Domestic travellers, families and wine lovers from South Africa, in particular Gauteng, will be targeted with an appealing events calendar and complementing wine tourism packages.

Domestic travellers, families and wine lovers from South Africa, in particular Gauteng, will be targeted with an appealing events calendar and complementing wine tourism packages.

Africa's wine tourism capital

“More and more visitors to our wineries want to engage in wine tourism activities at or near the site where the wine is produced. Visitors typically learn the history of the winery, see how the wine is made, and then taste the wines; often complemented by a fine meal in one of our award-winning restaurants. More and more wineries offer accommodation, meeting facilities and activities. Wine remains the ‘hero’, but a lot of focus is placed on the experiences that complement the wine and provide wineries and establishments with additional sources of income,” explains Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

For the Stellenbosch Wine Routes it all started back in the summer of 69 when the famous fearless visionary trio – the late Frans Malan, beloved patriarch of Simonsig Estate, the late Neil Joubert of Spier and the inimitable Spatz Sperling of Delheim – started speaking to authorities to entice visitors to the wine farms in the Stellenbosch region.

Wine Tourism brings people together. Do not miss the next Stellenbosch Street Soirees on the 12th February as we celebrate the new harvest. 

The Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded officially in 1971 and this pioneering initiative has changed the face of wine tourism in South Africa. Spawning a host of similar regional wine routes of which there are 18 today, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes remain the biggest and most visited of them all.                     

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes now boast 152 wineries as members, offering a myriad of unique attractions and leisure invitations ranging from modern to time-honoured, traditional cellars, a spectacular array of restaurants, a vibrant coffee culture and world-renowned hotels and guest houses, all fringing or filtered through the historic oak-lined town of Stellenbosch.

Stay in the heart of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, within close proximity of Cape Town. It is the best of both worlds. 

Become a partner in the Stellenbosch Wine Experience

Although the initiative will benefit the region and the wine and tourism sectors at large, a limited number of wine and tourism-marketing partners are being identified as marketing partners to ensure direct involvement and ownership by the private sector.

You can become a preferred marketing partner of the Stellenbosch Wine Experience campaign. Not only will the initiative and campaign benefit the region at large, but your brand will be showcased as a preferred partner, and if you use the opportunities created, your business will benefit.

For more information on the Stellenbosch Wine Experience, or to enquire about participation as a preferred marketing partner, contact Mariette du Toit-Helmbold at or phone 083 225 5955. 

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is the gourmet capital of South Africa, boasting four of the country's top ten restaurants. 

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is an international destination marketing and tourism thought leader, as well as a writer and public speaker on tourism, responsible tourism, destination marketing, brand innovation and digital strategy. Follow her or Destinate on Twitter and Facebook