The Financial Mail business magazine recently run a cover article about the tough times facing the South African wine industry. The article did a good job of summarizing the mounting challenges vintners in the South African industry.
What it also did was touch on the diversification by wine brands into wine tourism and the restaurant business. The article states that “at the farm and cellar level alone, (research firm Conningarth Economists) estimates tourism and catering add an impressive R9.7bn to GDP. Beyond farm and cellar, tourism contributes another R8.5bn.”
Those are impressive numbers when you consider the Conningarth value-add chain estimates a contribution of R3.4bn from grape production and R1,4bn at the cellar level.
A different, but similiar, set of figures in the same article, this time taken from SAWIS, show that in 2008 local tourism contributed R800m whilst foreign tourism contributed R3.5bn.
Which means when South African vintners are overseas, we need to be marketing our winelands as a tourist destination just as hard as we are marketing our wines.