Garden Route Wine Bonanza for 2010

The Outeniqua Mountains on the Garden Route.
The Outeniqua Mountains on the Garden Route.

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After spending millions,on international fact-finding trips and marketing jollies, the Cape winelands have failed to secure a base-camp for one of the 32 teams participating in World Cup 2010. As mentioned in a previous post, hosting an international team and its horde of followers and national media brings myriad short and long term benefits to a town or region ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ if it didn’t the Cape winelands would not have spent such a lot of time and money attempting to secure said team, would they?

Tourism bodies around the Cape have been pretty mum about these international teams’ decision to shun the region and see favourites Spain heading to the charming town of Potchefstroom and England heading for Rustenburg. Over 30 days of international TV coverage will propel these towns, as well as others selected as base-camps, into the limelight, something the South African wine industry would surely have appreciated.

So Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Constantia will not share in base-camp limelight. One wine region which is, however, going to benefit hugely is the Langkloof wine region. “Lang” what? Well, this is the area north of the Outeniqua mountains on the Garden Route where grapes are grown and wine is made, albeit on a smaller scale than the Cape. And this region will see three teams set up base-camps between 11 June and 11 July, namely France, Denmark and Japan.

This means over 100,000 international visitors alone, not to mention the whole of France, Denmark and Japan being exposed to the towns of George and Knysna for the duration of the tournament thanks to the glories of television, not to mention the social media tidal wave.

One or two throw-away sentences about the region’s wines, and this means more PR and exposure than a Wosa-sponsored Jumbo of golf-playing wine hacks.

The slight problem is that the Langkloof is not awash with wineries. The most prolific is Goose Wines, a, venture in which local golf icon Retief Goosen has a share, and one which makes some pretty nifty wines from grapes grown on South Africa’s coldest wine, farm.

Morn+¬ Jonker, partner in Goose Wines, has already made inroads into 2010 preparations and The Goose is going to be wetting many throats setting up camp in the Garden Route come winter.

Especially exciting is that the three countries camping out here ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ France, Denmark and Japan ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ are all wine-loving nations. The experience of the Langkloof wines is sure to provide a high level of emotional take-out, meaning that when the visitors return to their countries of origin they will seek out the wines they enjoyed during their stay. Good for Langkloof, but also for South Africa.

Throw in a couple of hundred million goggling TV viewers seeing the region’s natural beauty and discovering the Garden Route as a wine region, and things are going to go ballistic.

The problem is that Goose Wines is a pretty small set-up and will not be able to carry the cudgel in this huge marketing opportunity for the local wine industry. If I were party to a wine brand in the Cape Winelands, I’d ask why my local tourism bodies stuffed-up by not securing a base-camp. And then I’d look east towards the Garden Route. A piece of that action is to be had.

Morn+¬ Jonker and Retief Goosen.
Morn+¬ Jonker and Retief Goosen.

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