How exciting it is to stand at the beginning of a new year – 365 days of opportunity lying ahead of us. And it is up to us to make every day count. Of course there will be difficult times and challenges, but it is in facing these with the right attitude that we succeed.
I am very excited about the year ahead and have thought about a few things that I would love to see and experience in 2014.
- Another good vintage in South Africa. We are lucky that in general we do not get massive fluctuations between vintages and in 2013 we had a late but cold and wet winter, so all indications are that we can expect an exceptional harvest. According to VinPro’s Francois Viljoen: “We experienced a very good winter with sufficient cold weather and higher than average rainfall, which guaranteed favourable bud burst and resulted in large catchment and farm dams being full. The report concludes: “The South African wine industry can look forward to a good, but smaller 2014 wine grape harvest than the record harvest obtained this year.” Click here for the full report.
- Government support for the wine industry. I would love to see the South African government buying into the fact that the wine industry plays such an important role in our economy – especially of course in the Western Cape. To compete internationally is no easy task and especially in the developing market of China, many of our competitors have freetrade agreements in place, ensuring favourable duties and import taxes. I hope that this year, our Government will also support the efforts of our industry, especially for exports to our Brics partner, China. Also have a look at PWC’s report on the SA wine industry.
- Cultivating a love for wine. Wine is one of the pleasures in my life and I love sharing the joy. Not everyone has to like wine, but in 2014 I’ll keep on sharing the wonder of the vineyard – how the climate and season and conditions, the barrels and the winemaker all have an influence on what the wine in your glass taste like and how the wine matures and matches food.
- Explore the wonder of food and wine. In my world, food and wine is part of everyday life and in this year I would like to eat at all the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa and find the best restaurants on my international travels. At our Franschhoek estates, we try our best to introduce food and wine matching experiences through creative tastings and even cooking glasses – please join us when you are in the area.
- Introducing the East to the Cape Winelands. In our wine marking efforts in the East, we work with an incentive programme, bringing the best performers to the Cape Winelands. We had our first 750 Chinese representatives in Cape Town this year and we hope to have an even bigger group visiting in 2014.
- See the birth of a tourism body focusing on the unique Cape Winelands experience in order to evolve our tourist offering, have a generic and organised marketing effort of the diversity of our offering and eventually to attract more visitors to the Cape Winelands.
- Honouring the legacy of Mandela. He was an exemplary man in many regards and there is much we can learn from him. In 2014, I hope we can at least manage to duplicate his respect for others and how it urged him to try and understand our differences and embrace our variety.
My wish for all of us for this year is that it will be a year of good fortune, that we will see challenges as opportunities, that we and our loved ones will be safe and healthy, that we will be able to make time for the things that are really important in life and that our eyes would be open to all our blessings and that we will live life to its full in the new year.