The Winelands shine in international best wine tourism awards

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Weltevrede, the Jonker family’s estate near Robertson in the Cape Winelands, has won an award for innovative contribution to wine tourism in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

It was recognised as one of the 11 best wine tourism regions in the world at the 2023 Best of Wine Tourism Awards held on 4 November in Mendoza, Argentina. 

These awards, by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, take place annually and focus on highlighting leading wine estates and regions in winery tourism. 

The network received 545 entries, which was narrowed down to 75 regional awards, from which only 11 “exceptional business” were selected as international winners  by a jury of industry experts.

The Jonke family had been living on Weltevrede since 1912. Klass Jonker planted the first vines in the area.His son Japie Jonker inherited the farm in the 1930s and expanded the vineyards. Lourens Jonker took over the farm in 1969 after completing his qualification in viniculture and studying European wine lands. 

Since then the farm has continued to expand. It now offers a tour of the wine cellars that includes a wine tasting of their chardonnay and champagne. Visitors can also create their own Cap Classique bottle while enjoying a meal at the restaurant. 

Others winners included Grapes for Good from Australia, Marquésde Murrieta in Spain, Château Fleur de Lisse inFrance, La Vigne Swiss Wine Therapy in Switzerland, Rheingrün Hofgarten, Westhofen in Germany, Anaia Wines in Argentina, Quanta Terra Douro in Portugal, Press Restaurant in the US, Pieropan in Italy and Matetic Winery in Chile.  

Catherine Leparmentier, the managing director of the Great Wine Capitals Network, speaks about the importance of promoting wine tourism to contribute to an economic and business sector through innovation.

“Given the difficult times the world went through in the last couple of years, we are very impressed by the resilience of the wine industry regarding their wine tourism activities. Innovative programs, new services, updated marketing strategies have enabled the wineries to recover quickly from the consequences of the global pandemic,” she says. 

To qualify for entry, the applicants had to be a member of the network, which includes Napa Valley and San Francisco in the United States, Valparaiso and Casablanca Valley in Chile, Mendoza in Argentina, Porto in Portugal, Bilbao Rioja in Spain, Bordeaux in France, Mainz Rheinhessen in Germany, Lausanne In Switzerland, Verona in Italy, the Cape Winelands in South Africa, and Adelaide in Australia.   

The seven categories were: Accommodation, Restaurants, Architecture and Landscape, Art and Culture, Wine Tourism Services, Innovative Wine Tourism Experience and Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices. 

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