|Cape Wine 2012: Day one in a nutshell25 October 2012
The opening day of Cape Wine 2012 and associated wine tourism show Vindaba was a great success, with 1,689 visitors registering at the door in addition to the 1,472 who had already registered online. This suggested that well in excess of 3,000 people might attend the event over the three-day show.
Proceedings opened with a well-received seminar entitled "Looking Back, Looking Forward", chaired by Wines of South Africa (WOSA) chairman CEO Johann Krige, proprietor of Kanonkop, who welcomed delegates. Then Gerrit van Rensburg, the Western Cape Minister for Agriculture and Rural Develoment, outlined the South African wine industry`s export performance since democracy, and invited any potential international investors to engage with the Western Cape Government: "We want to extend a red carpet to you for your business, and not the red tape that so often prevents new business from happening."
Next up was WOSA CEO Su Birch, who highlighted the key achievements of South African wine over the past 20 years, not only in terms of exports but also in sustainability, ethical trading and conservation. Then prominent South African businessman Kuseni Dlamini looked at what the future holds for South Africa in terms of its political and social and challenges and economic growth: "We`re one of the Top 10 wine producing countries in the world, but we should aspire to be No.1!"
Having experienced how sustainable practices have positively impacted on the cork industry, Amorim CEO Antonion Amorim stressed the importance of addressing environmental issues in business. He cited recent research proving that consumers are willing to spend considerably more on a wine purported to be environmentally friendly, with almost three-quarters of people surveyed saying "they would switch to a different brand of the same quality and price if it supported a good cause over one that did not".
Finally it was the turn of "two Yanks", as they described themselves, to explain why they saw South Africa as an exciting investment opportunity. "There`s real energy here," said Terroir Capital founding and managing partner Charles Banks, who owns two wineries in South Africa. "There are some real characters too. And no country has a better quality to price ration than South Africa."
"South Africa has great quality, great prices and a great story to tell," concluded Accolade Wines CEO Troy Christensen. "Now the challenge is to get the story out there."
Instead of focusing exclusively on traditional markets, however, Christensen urged the industry to look closer to home: "Africa is the next China," he said. "I have been blown away by the progress since my last visit, four years ago. I believe Africa will be a substantial driver of economic growth."