The 2018 edition of the Cape Wine Festival – the leading international trade show for South African wines – has opened at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, with 350 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees from Africa and rest of the world.
The three-day conference opened yesterday and ends on Friday, 14th September, 2018, and is organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA) in partnership with DHL Express, the world’s leading express logistics company.
With a thematic focus on sustainability in the face of climate change and its associated effects, Cape Wine 2018 will host seminars and discussions on innovative ways of making wine while preserving the environment for future generations.
The first seminar had speakers such as Carina Gous, International Business Manager, Stone Pine Wines; Rick Tigner, President and CEO, Jackson Family Wines; Raymond Ndlovu, REMGRO and co-owner, Black Elephant Vintners; Andrew Milne, CEO, Spier Wine Farm; John Lucas, Managing Director, DHL Express; and Siobhan Thompson, CEO of WOSA.
Ms. Thompson noted that this year’s theme is ‘Hannuwa’, the 200,000-year-old Khoi-San word which describes nature and people as one. “The South African wine industry has come a long way in recent years to ensure the sustainability of both our land and our people, as without either one it simply wouldn’t survive.
“Our speakers are all experts in their field, understanding the value of the combined efforts to create not only an industry but a world that provides for the future – ensuring that we look after our land by employing ecologically-friendly practices in our vineyards and uplifting our people through employment, education and opportunities which stretch beyond the vineyards, while ensuring the economic situation remains viable for investment and growth,” she said.
WOSA’s Africa Market Manager, Matome Mbatha, told the B&FT in an interview that the 2018 edition of the event has more exhibitors and over 5,000 wines to be tasted throughout the three days, while seminars and talks will focus on sustainability, climate change and its effects.
“The first seminar had speakers talk at length about how to maintain the wine business under the circumstance of drought issues. We always have to be innovative when it comes to drought. The theme basically speaks to how we can have the wine business going forward,” he said.
He noted that the best thing about the South African wine industry is its ability to stay innovative. “We are very popular for being innovative. You have young wine makers coming up with new styles of making wine and packaging those wines, and Cape Wine is the platform to showcase those offerings.
“It creates an opportunity for those who are new to showcase the quality and styles they are coming up with; and, also, an opportunity for the upcoming, young and fresh consumers to tap into, not old-style wine, but new-world wine. Even though we have been producing wine for over 350 years, we’ve just started tapping into the mainstream wine market and so that is an opening for new people to explore,” he added.
For the first time, there is a large contingent from the continent, which Mr. Mbatha believes is a sign that Africans are now loving more and more of South African wines. “From Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana and Nigeria, Africans are here to see what they can take back. And this is our biggest achievement, because it means Africans are now appreciating African wine.
“The numbers show that this is where the eyes are looking and everybody wants a taste, and so South African winemakers must up their games and continue to be very innovative. We do produce the finest and in markets that we engage in; we are adding value, educating people and offering them opportunities to trade,” he added.