La Motte retains wine capital title

2012-11-09 08:30

Cape Town - For the second year in succession, historic wine estate, La Motte of Franschhoek has been named South Africa’s Best of Wine Tourism champion. The 2013 winner of the annual competition run by the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) once again came out narrowly ahead of Waterkloof Estate, Helderberg’s biodynamic winery situated on the slopes of the Schapenberg.

The GWC, a network of the world’s leading wine-producing countries that shares international best practice to advance standards in wine tourism across the world, announced the results in Florence, Italy, at a gala dinner attended by leading wine tourism practitioners from around the world.

GWC’s members, in addition to Cape Town-Cape Winelands, include Mainz-Rheinhessen (Germany), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa (United States) and New Zealand’s Christchurch.

Dating back 300 years, La Motte as South Africa's national winner joins the illustrious company of some of the world's most famous wine producers, including:

•    France's Maison des Vins de Cadillac, a leading Bordeaux winery run from an 18th century manor house near the canton of Cadillac;
•    Wasems Kloster Engelthal, a former Cistercian monastery in Rheinhessen, Germany, dating back eight centuries;
•    Quinta do Vallado Wine Hotel, one of the oldest estates in the Douro Valley of Portugal, run by the same family for almost 400 years;
•    Spain's Hotel-Bodega Finca de los Arandinos, close to Bilbao;
•    Italy's Fattoria Lavacchio run as an organic operation in Tuscany;
•    Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel & Spa in the foothills of the Andes Cordillera of Argentina;
•    The organically farmed Long Meadow Ranch, nestled in the Mayacama Mountains of the Napa Valley, US; and
•    Renowned Yealands Estate in the Awatere Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand, a carbon-zero winery that has been one of the world leaders in sustainable farming.  

As the results were so close between the top two South African contenders, the local chapter of the GWC sought the opinion of the full international panel before making its final decision.

La Motte's win was based on its overall performance, taking first place in the Sustainable Wine Tourism category, and second position in both the Arts and Culture and in the Wine Tourism Services categories. Last year the estate earned the top score in the Arts and Culture category. Waterkloof’s position as South Africa's runner-up was earned by coming first in the Architecture and Landscapes category, as it did last year, and by coming second this time in both the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices and the Restaurant categories.

André Morgenthal, spokesperson for the awards, said the virtual tie between La Motte and Waterkloof was a reflection of the extremely high standard of entries. “The difference between the scores was very slight.  We had higher scores across virtually all categories compared with previous years.  It is very encouraging to see that since the inception of the competition over a decade ago, there has been a steady advance in the quality and sophistication of wine tourism experiences entered for consideration.”

This finding of the judges was borne out, he said, by the growing international vote of confidence amongst tourists in Cape Town and its surroundings.  Earlier in November, Cape Town was named second-best city in the world and best city in Africa by readers of US-based travel publication Condé Nast Traveller. Its annual survey this year drew almost 50 000 readers and saw Cape Town beaten only by southern US city Charleston, but coming out ahead of Florence, Bangkok, Vancouver and Sydney.

Morgenthal said this year, for the first time, the Hemel & Aarde area had been represented in the local GWC competition, with Creation taking top position in the Innovative Wine Tourism category.

Other category winners were Grand Dédale of Wellington (Accommodation), Grande Provence of Franschhoek (Arts & Culture), Tokara of Stellenbosch (Restaurants) and Waterford of Stellenbosch (Wine Tourism Services).

This year’s judges included wine tourism specialist Margi Biggs; international tourism consultant Rick Taylor of the Business Tourism Company, a former CEO of Cape Metropolitan Tourism and currently a board member of Tourism Business Council of South Africa; lifestyle and wine journalist Joanne Gibson; Joan Isham, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) extension officer; Marilyn Martin, art historian, curator and writer; landscape architect Alex Robertson; JP Rossouw, food critic and author of the annual Rossouw’s Restaurants guide; and landscaper Johan van Papendorp.

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