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Stellenbosch opens Wine Tourism Visitor Centre

The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes celebrates the start of the bustling festive season with the opening of a Wine Tourism Visitor Centre in the heart of the City of Oaks. It offers locals and visitors an engaging ‘hotspot’ to get up close and personal with South Africa’s granddaddy of wine routes and get an insider-scoop on what’s hot and happening in this popular wine tourism region.

47 Church Street is your one stop destination for a slice of the vibrant Stellenbosch lifestyle, where free wifi, comprehensive information and wine tourism guidance, good quality coffee, friendly staff and casual wine tastings come standard, seven days a week.

“We invite everyone to swing by our new ‘home’ for an insightful peep into what makes our wine route one of the best in the world and to get connected with a myriad of attractions on our doorstep. We offer so much more than just wine and we now have a beautiful space in which we can share our multi-dimensional culture and charm with enthusiasts. It is the best spot to come and chill with a glass of local wine, whilst soaking up the daily hustle and bustle of our forever young town,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

As the oldest wine route in the country, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes might be considered a golden oldie with its winemaking legacy spanning over more than four decades, but with all its innovative wine tourism initiatives going strong, this dynamic Winelands darling still manages to fuel all the senses.

“Today we are celebrated as a leader in South African wine tourism and we offer the Full Monty. We have the best chefs, exceptional wines, a multi-faceted playground of activities for young and old. Long gone are the days when tourists just valued us as day trip destination to taste quality wines,” adds Bolton.

Earlier this year the Stellenbosch Wine Routes clinched the title as Best Promotional Body at the Wine Tourism Awards 2014 of the authoritative Drinks International magazine – one of the most trusted and respected global drinks journals. More recently it excelled at the 2015 Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best Of Wine Tourism Awards held in Mendoza, Argentina, where numerous local producers raked in awards.
The Stellenbosch Winelands also consolidated its role as the country’s Gourmet and Wine Capital, claiming seven of the top twenty nominations in the 2014 Eat Out Restaurant Awards – South Africa’s annual restaurant Oscars – of which four shines amongst the current Top Ten eateries in the country.

This awesome Top Ten foursome includes Jordan (rated #5), Overture (#6), Rust en Vrede (#7) and Terroir (#10), whilst Makaron at Majeka House, Tokara and The Restaurant at Waterkloof were again among the top twenty nominees.

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is also proud to have the Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year 2014 as well as the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2014 in its midst.

Jerome Thomas, general manager at Kanonkop Wine Estate, walked away with the coveted Farm Worker of the Year 2014 title – an annual competition hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Shoprite which saw a record number of more than 1000 entries from 15 different regions this year.

“This has been a dream of mine for the past six years and I finally won through hard work and perseverance,” shares an elated Thomas who received a prize package of R100 000, which includes cash; study bursaries, and an overseas study tour related to market access.

Jacques Erasmus from Spier Estate, who has been making wine since he was just 12 years old, took the prestigious Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title for his Spier Creative Block 2 2014 dry white wine blend – a stellar sip for festive celebrations. This annual contest contributes towards raising the standards of the wines produced in South Africa and each year the best winemaker is crowned from an illustrious pool of internationally recognised estates as well as smaller, yet equally competitive , wine farms. Erasmus had two wines in the finals which proofs that his winemaking skills are consistent and worthy of this award.

For more information on what is hot and happening in and around Stellenbosch and its sub-routes this season, visit blog.wineroute.co.za, or visit their new Wine Tourism Visitor Centre at 47 Church Street. Also contact them on Tel: 021 886 4310, email welcome@wineroute.co.za and visit www.wineroute.co.za.