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Stellenbosch third time on target at The Drinks Business Awards

Wine Route nominated for Best Contribution to Wine & Spirits Tourism again

The iconic Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes has made the sought-after shortlist for The Drinks Business Awards 2015 for the third consecutive year, once again vying for the top spot in the Best Contribution to Wine & Spirits Tourism Category.

Unveiled each year at the London Wine fair, The Drinks Business Awards of Europe’s leading drinks trade publication have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry. Now in its 12th year, this competition grants companies and individuals to win high profile recognition in front of the industry’s most influential representatives.

This year the granddaddy of South African Wine Routes is the only local contender in its category and is up against Susana Balbo Wines (Argentina), Taste Hungary, Winerist (UK based) and Zonin 1821 (Italy). It hopes to impress as overall winner in its category which recognises those creating authentic, personalised and compelling experiences for customers wishing to encounter their favourite wines and spirits in their own territory.

“We are holding thumbs that the third time is the charm for us, as we continue to invest in our wine tourism offerings, not only to challenge the traditional perceptions of our beautiful city but also to increase our ‘word of mouth’ footprint as this drives most travel decisions. Through our endeavors we aim to entice travellers to truly immerse themselves and uncover the real Stellenbosch that we know and love…albeit through eating, drinking, hiking, shopping or cooking with the locals,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

This nomination follows on the recent success of the wine route’s 2nd annual #Stellenblog blogger initiative, which they hosted in conjunction with Stellenbosch 360 as part of the duo’s destination marketing campaign, Stellenbosch Experience.

This digital campaign saw some of the most influential international and domestic bloggers taking part in a week-long itinerary to absorb the Stellenbosch Way of Life like the locals do. Their uncovering and digitally sharing of the secrets and stories of the personal encounters with South’s Africa’s oldest and foremost wine route with the world, generated great buzz on social media.

Between the seven top travel, lifestyle and food bloggers that spent the week in the company of Stellenbosch, was a combined following of 200,000 unique readers per month, 356,000 Twitter followers, 51,000 Instagram followers and 95,000 Facebook fans.

During the #Stellenblog week (1-7 May) the campaign (measured by its hashtag) generated an Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) of more than R15 million and created 68 005 612 opportunities to see.

“This is phenomenal and it will only increase over the next few weeks as the blog posts get posted and shared globally. Another interesting statistic is the high engagement and participation of consumers. 99% of mentions were by consumers; 62% of tweets were engaged with, thus shared or commented on, and more than 1500 unique authors, not just the seven bloggers, actively used the hashtag,” shares Bolton.

Other exciting wine tourism projects lined up for Stellenbosch Experience 2015 include a sizzling winter campaign, themed Reflect, Relax Stellenbosch. This lures visitors to visit the City of Oaks from May until September with cosy fireplaces, good food and wine, and a multitude of experiences ranging from nature and family fun to art and shopping – through three value-added travel packages that give all the value at half the price.

For more information on the Stellenbosch Experience visit www.stellenboschexperience.co.za and keep an eye on #visitStellenbosch. Also visit the wine route’s Wine Tourism Visitor Centre at 47 Church Street or contact them on Tel: 021 886 4310, email welcome@wineroute.co.za or www.wineroute.co.za.

The winners of The Drinks Business Awards 2015 will be revealed on 19 May at the London Wine Fair, Olympia.