Rust en Vrede Estate in Helderberg, Stellenbosch, has recently been named as the Best Of Wine Tourism Awards’ overall global winner for South Africa for 2010. The winners were announced at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network’s gala awards ceremony in Bordeaux, attended by tourism specialists, dignitaries and producers from wine-growing regions in Europe, North America, Latin America, South Africa and New Zealand.
Selected for the excellence of its multi-award-winning restaurant, run by chef David Higgs, Rust en Vrede is a first-time winner of the annual Best of Wine Tourism Awards. The restaurant is also Top Ten in Eat Out magazine and Rossouw's Restaurants. And if that wasn’t enough for Rust en Vrede, their winemaker, Coenie Snyman has also recently been judged this year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, winning the award for his Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is a group of some of the world’s top vinous destinations including Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal) and San Francisco-Napa (United States). New Zealand’s Christchurch is the newest member and will compete in the awards from next year.
South Africa’s local category winners this time were:
• Rust en Vrede, South African winner of the regional Restaurant category.
• Vergelegen took first place in the Arts & Culture category.
• Cloof Wines which was judged to provide the best offering in terms of Sustainable Wine Tourism practices, for its eco-friendly initiatives and festivals.
• Robertson Wine Valley which won in the Innovative Wine Tourism Experience category for its four annual festivals which have significantly raised the profile and elevated the status of the region.
• Waterford Estate, which was lauded for the excellence of its service and won the Wine Tourism Services category.
• The Devon Valley Hotel outside Stellenbosch which won the Accommodation category, not only for the quality of its hospitality, but also for promoting the range of wine tourism offerings in the area.
• Grande Provence Estate which won the Architectural category (also Top Ten in Eat Out Magazine)
Clarence Johnson, deputy mayor of the Winelands District Municipality, who is also the president of the Great Wine Capitals organisation, said the judges were impressed by the advances made in the quality of local offerings.
“The judges were also especially gratified by the growing sense of collaboration amongst competitors and their desire to work with their neighbours in building regional awareness.
“Although Stellenbosch dominated the category winners, we are pleased to see other regions well represented. More importantly, category winners reflect a diversity of offerings, from the most luxurious to the readily accessible.”
He added that this boded well for next year’s 2010 FIFA World Cup. “Financially hard-pressed international and local visitors can be confident of money well spent in the Winelands, whether at the top end or at more affordably priced levels.”