Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, widely acknowledged for its commitment to sustainable wine-growing and wine making, has been judged South Africa’s winner of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Best of Wine Tourism Awards. It joins seven other wineries across the globe, announced as the best in their respective countries at an awards ceremony in Mendoza, Argentina, last night (November 6).
The GWC is a network of some of the world’s leading wine-producing areas created to share and promote international best practice in wine tourism, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry. Its Best of Wine Tourism judges are drawn from amongst the world’s leading tourism, food, hospitality, architectural, landscape gardening and cultural experts.
South Africa is represented on the GWC network by the Cape Town-Cape Winelands chapter. Other members are Mainz-Rheinhessen (Germany), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa (United States), Mendoza (Argentina), Valparaiso-Casablanca and (Chile).
As South Africa‘s Best of Wine Tourism Award winner, Waterford has been ranked with other celebrated wineries from around the world. These are Rioja’s historic Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta; the St Emilion estate, Château La Croizille, also steeped in history; the 17th-generation Weingut Dr Hinkel in Framershein; Trapiche, which is Argentina’s biggest wine producer and a multi-award winner; the highly rated Museu do Douro in Portugal, that represents the cultural heritage of the famous wine region and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the acclaimed HALL Wines of the Napa Valley and Chile’s Casablanca Valley Restaurant Macerado at Viñamar that specialises in pairing foods with sparkling wines.
Waterford, a 120 hectare property on the slopes of the Helderberg, took top place in the competition’s sustainable wine tourism and the wine tourism service categories. The winery has often been lauded for its biodiversity-focused vineyard safari experience, as well as for its vintage tastings and wine and chocolate pairings, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Co-owned by IT magnate Jeremy Ord and one of South Africa‘s most respected winemakers, Kevin Arnold, Waterford has been one of the Best of Wine Tourism Award‘s strongest contenders in past years, regularly achieving high scores across a number of categories.
Babylonstoren, that lies in the Drakenstein Valley between Paarl and Franschhoek, came second. Owned by Naspers chairman-designate Koos Bekker and his wife, Karen Roos, it won both the accommodation and architecture and landscape categories.
Newcomer, Cavalli won the arts and culture category, while Waterkloof won the category for best wine tourism restaurant and KWV won for innovative wine tourism experiences.
Speaking on behalf of the local GWC chapter, André Morgenthal said the Best of Wine Tourism Awards had over the years become an important incentive for wine producers to develop world-class connoisseur experiences for visitors.
Cape Town recently reaffirmed its global popularity as a travel destination, moving from 11th to fourth position in last month’s Condé Nast Traveler‘s annual reader choice awards. The offerings of the Cape Winelands were a significant contributor to public perceptions.
FULL LIST OF GREAT WINE CAPITALS BEST OF WINE TOURISM RESULTS: CAPE TOWN/CAPE WINELANDS
2 Grande Provence
ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPES
ART & CULTURE
3 Grande Provence
INNOVATIVE WINE TOURISM EXPERIENCES
3 Solms Delta
SUSTAINABLE WINE TOURISM PRACTICES
2 La Motte
WINE TOURISM RESTAURANTS
2 Delaire Indochine
WINE TOURISM SERVICE