Talk of the Town

Two of the biggest tourism bodies in Stellenbosch are joining hands, TOKARA impresses on the international stage once again and Franschhoek is listed as one of the Top 30 Millenial Destinations. Danie Keet brings us all the news that has the Winelands (and the world) talking.

Visit Stellenbosch: An integrated approach for inclusive tourism innovation in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch Wine Routes (SWR) and Stellenbosch 360 (S360) have agreed on a bold and ambitious plan to bring stakeholders together and grow the tourism and experience economy in Stellenbosch.

The foundation of this plan is the establishment of a new destination marketing organisation, Visit Stellenbosch, that connects all aspects of tourism and creates a compelling and unique place experience for locals and visitors throughout the year in the town of Stellenbosch and in the Stellenbosch Wine Region.

Visit Stellenbosch will unite all tourism stakeholders in Stellenbosch under a joint destination brand and a unified destination vision with a long-term tourism plan. Centralising the operational functions and resources of various tourism role-players, Visit Stellenbosch will enable stakeholders to invest more to improve service excellence, drive tourism innovation and enhance place product experiences.

At the heart of this plan is a determined social development drive that is focussed on job creation and skills development. “Stellenbosch is globally known as a place where people come to discover, learn, create, start up, launch and bring into being. With Visit Stellenbosch we will make Stellenbosch a living tourism laboratory where we can pilot, test and implement innovative and scalable high-impact solutions to tackle pressing social and economic issues,” says Mike Ratcliffe, Chairman of SWR who championed the development of the plan.

“We have engaged with our colleagues at Franschhoek Wine Valley and look forward to cooperating with them for the benefit of the greater Stellenbosch region.” continues Ratcliffe.

The process of establishing the new DMO is at an advanced stage. An inclusive steering committee – representative of all aspects of the tourism economy in Stellenbosch – has been formed and tasked with the planning and operational rollout of Visit Stellenbosch. This committee will jointly be chaired by Ratcliffe and Jan Scannell, Chairman of S360.

The first planning meeting is scheduled for the June 2019 and further communication around the organisation, its leadership, services and membership opportunities is planned for July 2019. In the interim, current services and activities provided by the respective stakeholders, such as the S360 visitor information centre, will continue until further notice.

“The board of S360 believes that Visit Stellenbosch is the ideal launchpad to bolster and expand the work that S360 has done to build an extensive international tourism network for Stellenbosch that is centred around community development,” says Scannell.

The plan for Visit Stellenbosch is also closely aligned with the strategic objectives of the Stellenbosch Municipality, reinforcing the vision to position Stellenbosch as Africa’s innovation hub and South Africa’s top tourism destination for locals and visitors alike.

Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, concludes “The strategic alignment of stakeholders under Visit Stellenbosch will unlock tourism potential, enhance our national and international image, and create more opportunities for our communities to thrive”.

TOKARA garners Platinum at Decanter World Wine Awards

TOKARA, the prized family owned Stellenbosch wine estate, has swept the board at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) in London with a Platinum medal and four wines breaking the venerable 90 point barrier.

Top achiever attaining Platinum with a score of 97/100 is TOKARA’s flagship white wine, the Director’s Reserve White 2016. Next up in the Decanter 90+ stakes is the TOKARA flagship red blend, the Director’s Reserve Red on 93, and the Reserve Collection Syrah on 92, both from the phenomenal 2015 vintage which is widely held as one of the best in the past 30 years. TOKARA Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2018, ranked one of South Africa’s Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs on home turf, scored 90 points.

This DWWA triumph is a London encore for TOKARA white wines this year after both the Decanter achievers clinched Gold medals at the recent Sommelier Wine Awards. The DWWA is also a ‘take two’ on the world wine stage for TOKARA reds this year with scores of 92/100 for the Director’s Reserve and 91/100 for the Reserve Collection Syrah from the French based Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge.

Now in its 16th year, the DWWA is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition. Judged by leading wine experts from around the globe, this prestigious competition is trusted internationally for its rigorous judging process.

The champion TOKARA Director’s Reserve White 2016 is a classic Bordeaux-style blend comprising Sauvignon blanc (70%) and Semillon (30%) grown on the highest slopes of TOKARA’s Stellenbosch property. This is a wonderfully complex wine with rich layers of ripe quince, passion fruit and baked apples, rounded off by hints of lemon grass, toasted almonds and freshly baked brioche.

Showing immense clarity with ample cherries and black berries supported by a fine yet firm tannin structure, the Director’s Reserve Red 2015 is a consummate blend of all five Bordeaux red grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Merlot (15%), Petit Verdot (7%), Malbec (4%) and Cabernet Franc (3%).

The Reserve Collection Syrah 2015 is TOKARA’s most expressive Syrah showing refined elegance with rich dark fruit and hints of pepper spice.

Crafted from TOKARA’s cool climate vineyards in Elgin, the Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is vibrant with the clean freshness of citrus rounded off by a creamy mid-palate and ending with a crisp finish.

Franschhoek among top 30 millennial destinations

With the second half of 2019 fast approaching, most millennials make use of this time to plan their next holiday. Whether it’s solo travel or a bucket list once-in-a-lifetime trip, they are chomping at the bit to hop onto the next plane (or car) and experience what the world has to offer.

Although millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – know what they want they also rely on some guidance, provided by travel planning site müvTravel, which has made it so much easier for them to plan their next holiday. They have recently released a list of the Top 30 Millennial Travel Destinations for 2019, and Franschhoek is the only listed South African destination. Listed at number 27, Franschhoek shares the spotlight with the likes of Seville (Spain), Utah (USA) and Chiang Mai (Thailand).

The list was compiled by analysing the destinations most frequently added to millennial user bucket lists. The data showed millennial travellers seek “memorable and original moments” as well as “activities that focus on sustainable and personalised local experiences”.

Not only is Franschhoek regarded as South Africa’s culinary capital as well as one of the country’s premier wine producing regions, but research has shown it is also one of the preferred travel destinations among local and international tourists. The list compiled by müvTravel reaffirms this once again.

School of Rock Center Stage at V&A Waterfront

The Cape Town branch of the world renowned School of Rock music school brand is offering all South African teenagers the rare chance for their talent to be seen by American record label executives as part of a worldwide artist search, Center Stage.

From May 1 until June 30, singers aged 13 – 19 years old can submit a five-minute audition video in the hope of being one of 25 selected individuals flown to Los Angeles for an invaluable industry experience.

These artists will perform in front of Atlantic Records and Artist Partner Group (APG) executives at a private artist showcase.

They will record songs at APG’s studios with professional engineers. Additionally, 100 applicants that show promise as artists will receive a scholarship to a School of Rock camp of their choice.