SOUTH Africa’s first and biggest township-based wine festival, the successful 2011 Soweto Wine Festival, has signed up a 3-year headline sponsorship with South Africa’s largest liquor retail outlet, Tops at SPAR, adding serious punch to the growth of the festival.
Says Ray Edwards, CEO Tops at Spar, “Tops at SPAR have, from inception, been on the cutting edge of innovation and now believe the time is right to begin an association with the Soweto Wine Festival. This market is a long ignored opportunity and we look forward to improving our brand equity through this headline sponsorship.”
Says Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master, joint founding member of the Soweto Wine Festival and MD of the Cape Wine Academy who are the organisers of the festival: “We are very excited at securing Tops at SPAR as our headline sponsor.
” This event, and therefore market, grows from strength to strength every year, and TOPS adds a new dimension that is important to this growth; Soweto Wine Festival is becoming the most important wine educational event in South Africa which, by the sheer fabulousness of the residents in Soweto and surrounding areas, is also the trendiest lifestyle event.”
It is expected that in excess of 8000 visitors will be at the 2011 festival to delight in tasting a wide range of styles and cultivars, whilst interacting with lifestyle brands, having a meal in the revamped food court, which will host local Sowetan restaurants exploring a wide variety of tastes. There will be approximately 950 wines to taste this year so make the most of the 3 days to spread your wine tasting experiences.
The popular Nederburg Wine & Food Tasting Theatre presented by Nederburg winemaker Tariro Masayiti, who fell in love with wine after his first glass and wants to share his passion, will be at the festival, giving free access to all visitors who wish to expand their wine tasting knowledge. Presenting red, white and dessert wines in this Nederburg’s exclusive theatre created for the festival, Masayiti will encourage visitors to try these with foods representing the five taste sensations.
A few of the other major sponsors at the festival this year include DStv, who are also VIP Lounge sponsors for Saturday evening, City Press, Kaya FM, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Vodacom. There will also be luxurious, interactive wine lounges from Distell’s 4th Street, Nederburg, KWV’s Café Culture, DGB’s The Saints and Distell’s JC le Roux.
Says Suraya Hamdulay, Vodacom’s Executive Head of Corporate Citizenship, “The core value behind the Soweto Wine festival was to introduce South Africa’s quality wines to the majority of the population, and spread the message that wine is not only for a few South Africans to enjoy. Enjoying wine should be a way of life for all South Africans. Today we continue to keep the wine flowing by encouraging, educating and growing wine drinkers in Mzansi.”
Mnikelo Mangciphu, co-founding member of the Soweto Wine Festival and owner of Morara Wine Emporium in Soweto says, “We are again upping our game this year to cater to the expected crowds. The festival now caters to a large and broad market of intelligent and educated black wine drinkers who have been drinking wine as part of their lifestyle for over 6 years. In fact, 51% of the festival visitors fit into this premium wine drinking market. Now only approximately 11% are new drinkers. Just 6 years ago these figures were reversed.”
City Press “7” lifestyle magazine Editor, Babalwa Shota comments, “The Soweto Wine Festival is the trend in wine appreciation when it started. Seven years later, there are many more festivals targeting the discerning black consumer, but nothing matches the thrill of this special festival. City Press and Soweto Wine Festival are both brands that have set a precedent when it comes to the needs of the upwardly mobile professional who appreciates the good things in life. This is why both brands keep growing, together and with their loyal customers. We look forward to continuing this partnership which is about giving our readers the best kind of lifestyle they deserve.”
This year the Cape Wine Academy Careers and Business Education section will provide a platform introducing visitors to careers and education in wine. Organisers of the festival, the Cape Wine Academy provides a range of social and professional wine courses for individuals and tertiary institutions and specialises in creating bespoke wine-tasting events for corporate clients.