Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
Wosa, the generic body representing the South African wine trade, has been staging the show every second year, with the exception of 2010, the year of the FIFA World Cup, since 2000. South African wine exports last year generated R350m in sales.
Krige said that Cape 2012 attracted a record number of producer exhibitors, up by 15% on the last event in 2008, and also the highest number of delegates, almost 1,500.
As well as significant support from traditional exporting countries in mainland Europe, Scandinavia and Canada, this year had seen the highest turnout in the history of Cape Wine from countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Krige said Cape Wine was now the most successful international wine business show in the Southern Hemisphere.
Cape Wine 2012 was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from September 25 to 27.
Krige said: “Our industry has wowed the international wine community with an exciting and diverse range of quality wines and a fresh and inspiring approach that has demonstrated our world leadership in eco-sustainability and energy-efficiency among wine-producing nations. We showed very effectively that we are making better wines at all price points, and also that we are making wines, better. ”
Krige said that the country’s wine export volumes for the 12 months to August 2012, were 7% up on the year previously.
He said a major highlight of the show had been the support from the major global retailers. “The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the world’s largest wine retailer; its Quebec equivalent, the SAQ; and all the state-run monopolies of the Scandinavian bloc were in attendance; along with the UK’s biggest grocers’ chains, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose; the Dutch giant, Albert Heijn; as well as US chain Whole Foods Market.”
Also present were buyers from Florida’s Disney World, leading hotels, restaurant chains and specialty shops, in addition to agents looking for brands to market in their own countries, according to Wosa.
He said the 304 producers, displaying their offerings across 6,500 m sq of floor space, had included a broad spectrum of wineries from the major corporate and co-operative producers each with multiple brands on show, to small-scale, independent and boutique producers.
Cape Wine 2012 is believed to be the first ever green-themed international wine exhibition. Conceived to reinforce the country’s leadership in production integrity from soil to glass, the accent was on reducing, re-using and recycling as many exhibition materials as possible.
Cape Wine opened with a gala ‘green tie’ event. Delegates had supported the exhibition theme by walking from their hotels to the venue and wearing bow ties made from discarded packaging. They were also given lanyards made from baked papier-mâché beads and bags made from recycled material, giving much-needed employment to poor people.
All the empty wine bottles from the gala dinner and the show itself were being given to a job-creation project to create new artefacts from the recycled glass, said Krige. “Our eco-procurement of goods and services has served to generate work for many marginalised, otherwise unemployed people.”
Most producers had erected stands from recycled materials and had used LED lighting to illuminate their exhibition areas. Spekbome, a tree-like shrub also known as Porkbush or Elephant's food. The literal translation, from Afrikaans, means the Bacon Tree, is known for their highly effective absorption of carbon dioxide. It provided the green decor for the show.
Wosa says wine contributes some R26bn annually to the country’s GDP and employs nearly 276,000 people.