The profile of South African wine is set to attract greater international attention now that a new Wine of Origin District named after Cape Town, one of the world’s foremost tourism brands, has been approved by the South African Wine and Spirit Board.
This ground-breaking move aimed at elevating the profile of South African wine through a direct association to Cape Town will unite the wine wards of Constantia, Durbanville, Philadelphia and Hout Bay under the inclusive name Wine of Origin Cape Town.
A total of 30 wineries, including some of South Africa’s leading brands such as Groot Constantia, Durbanville Hills, Diemersdal, Klein Constantia, Nitida, Meerendal, Buitenverwachting and Cape Point Vineyards will join forces under Wine of Origin Cape Town, capitalising on the global recognition Cape Town has achieved as an international tourist destination and sought-after lifestyle brand.
According to Rico Basson, CEO of South African wine producers’ organisation Vinpro, an official Cape Town wine district automatically links the local wine industry to one of the leading place names in international tourism, lifestyle and business. “The collaboration between the various wards and wineries in coming together to form the new wine district is a huge step forward for the South African wine industry,” he says.
“It is an example of innovative co-operation in harnessing producers to market their respective regions under one name, the name Cape Town being much-needed for South African wine to present itself as a global player. As a wine region, Cape Town now encapsulates a wonderful set of dynamics in terms of heritage, culture and modern wine styles. South Africa is already well-known for our wine tourism offering and this new development will add to integrating our strategy of innovative marketing.”
Basson said the wards involved are incorporated in a unique area of the Cape Winelands that includes wards surrounded by the effect of the Atlantic Ocean and representing a similar geography. “South Africa’s Wine of Origin legislation is highly acknowledged and respected as one of the best implemented and regulated in the world, so besides the tremendous marketing opportunities Wine of Origin Cape Town holds, the region represents a wine-making and grape-growing entity with vast similarities.”
Duimpie Bayly, chairman of the Wine and Spirit Board’s Demarcation Committee, says that from a wine production side, the wards of Constantia, Durbanville, Philadelphia and Hout Bay are meant to be together. “We considered the various wards in the new proposed district and found great similarity in terroir as well as clear boundaries in a district that at its furthest point is 36km from the Cape Town City Centre,” he says.
“We looked at the marketing potential of the new district, but remained scientific in determining the physical similarities of the wards using the latest GIS technology available. After our findings and recommendation for this new wine district, the Demarcation Committee received no objections whatsoever and are now excited to add the new district to our Wine of Origin system.”
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the new Cape Town’ Wine of Origin demarcation will increase global awareness of South African wine.
“This is exciting news for our wine industry. Cape Town’s brand as a leading, quality tourism and investment destination is already well established. Bringing our wine offering under this same banner is a natural fit, and one which will dramatically accelerate global market recognition of our produce. This move will deliver benefits to both our tourism and wine industries.
“The Wine of Origin Cape Town campaign is also aligned to the Western Cape’s Project Khulisa economic strategy, which is seeking to grow jobs in tourism and in wine, through increased exports. I would like to commend Vinpro, sector players and the wineries involved for their hard work in leading this initiative.”
According to Siobhan Thompson, CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), the wine industry’s international marketing arm, the new designation of Wine of Origin Cape Town will boost the profile of the country’s wines and winelands internationally.
“As a destination, Cape Town has long been a firm favourite among international travellers and has a strong reputation for not only its beauty, but also its flavours, be it wine and food and, of course, its people. This new appellation will not only hold positive rewards for the region, but also for South African wine as a whole as it will surely draw instant recognition due to the popularity Cape Town enjoys abroad. WOSA looks forward to marketing it in our key markets with our international teams.”
Martin Moore, chairman of the Durbanville Wine Valley which will now see its wines fall under the Wine of Origin Cape Town banner, says the joining of the Northern and Southern suburb wineries surrounding Table Mountain and Cape Town is one of the most exciting recent developments in the wine industry.
“Durbanville, Constantia and the other wards involved share the cool climate linked to the Atlantic seaboard as well as the ‘cool’ vibrancy with which the Cape Town brand is associated,” he says. “Myself and the other Durbanville wineries look forward to being linked to a name that is well-known internationally and is historically the Mother City of the South African wine industry.”
One of South Africa’s most recognised wine regions, members of the Constantia Wine Route are equally upbeat about the new association with Cape Town. “The linearity in terms of geographical aspects with regards to the growing of wine grapes in the different wards is complemented by an exciting diversity in culture, scenery and tourist offerings,” says John Loubser, chairman of the Constantia Wine Route.
“While we are now proudly Cape Town wineries, each of the areas and individual wineries will still offer tourists and wine lovers the individual wine experiences for which we have become known. Only now we can do it together under the name of one of the world’s most dynamic place names that resonates with consumers world-wide.”
Now that the legislation has been approved, a new destination marketing organisation representing Wine of Origin Cape Town will be rolled out over the next few months.
|Cape Point Vineyards
Hout Bay Vineyards
WINE OF ORIGIN -W.O.
Because the role of origin is so important, an origin control system has for many years been in place in the traditional wine lands of Europe, to protect both the producer and consumer. The two factors which play the most important role in determining the character and quality of a wine, is nature (soil, climate and location) and the human hand (cultivar choice, viticultural practices and winemaking techniques). Of these two, nature is considered to be the more important factor with a greater influence. In certain areas the vine grows better and within the South African wine producing areas, there are differences in soil, climate and location which cause wines to differ from region to region. If a wine claims origin, it is the statutory regulations which ensure that the wine really is from that origin. When the term “Wine of Origin” or the abbreviation “W. O.” appears together with the name of a production area, such as Stellenbosch, Durbanville or Robertson on a label, it confirms that 100% of the grapes from which the wine is made, comes from that specific area.
DEMARCATION OF PRODUCTION AREA
A production unit can be any demarcated area, from a single vineyard to a geographical unit. The borders of all production units, small and large, are defined by law. A unit for the production of single vineyard wine is the smallest production unit and may not exceed 6 hectares. The second demarcated production unit is a unit for the production of estate wine, which can consist of one or more bordering farms, as long as it is farmed as a unit and has its own production cellar on the unit where the wine is produced. Where the term estate wine appears on the label, it confirms that the wine was produced from grapes grown on that specific unit. The third demarcated production unit is a combination of different farms and is known as a ward, i.e. Franschhoek and Constantia. A map of all the wards is on pages 16 and 17. The term “ward” is used for a small demarcated viticultural area which includes farms and usually, but is not necessarily part of a district. The Franschhoek ward is for instance part of the Paarl district, but the Cederberg ward is not part of a specific district. The fourth demarcated production unit is a district, such as Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Robertson. The term “district” is used for a demarcated viticultural district, which does not necessarily follow the borders of the former Regional Council districts. The fifth demarcated production unit is a region, i.e. Klein Karoo and Coastal Region, which is a combination of different districts or portions of districts. Production in South Africa has over the years proved that each area of origin lends its own unique character to wine and that certain areas deliver better quality for specific wine types.
CRITERIA FOR PRODUCTION UNIT
When a ward is defined, soil, climate and ecological factors are very important as they have a clear influence on the character of the wine. The proposed area name also has to be the real geographical place name and nature has to dictate that the specific area can actually produce wine with a distinctive character. Districts have to meet the same criteria as wards, but with a broader definition of the relevant area by using macro geographical characteristics such as mountains and rivers as criteria. Naturally, a greater variety of soil types are allowed than in the wards. Regions are mainly defined according to the encompassing area name which in the case of a river stretches from the source to the mouth thereof. With a unit for the production of estate wine, which can consist of one or more farms, it has to be accepted that the natural factors can differ, but it is distinctive because in most cases there is only one producer and the farms are run as a unit.
CERTIFICATION OF WINE AS GUARANTEE TO THE PUBLIC
A certification seal is an absolute guarantee to the public that the claims made on the packaging about the wine are true and that the wine was of good quality when it was evaluated by the Wine and Spirit Board for certification. As such the certification seal is very important to wine lovers. A wine can only be certified when all the requirements of the Wine of Origin Scheme have been met.