The annual Wine & Food Tourism Conference (previously known as the Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference) celebrates its 4th year in 2019, and will this year be introducing the Wine & Food Tourism Awards. “The aim of this new awards platform is to recognise those individuals and teams who have made exceptional contributions to the development and promotion of the South African wine and food tourism industry,” says Margi Biggs, convenor of the Wine & Food Tourism Conference.

“We have so much in our favour in South Africa. We have physical beauty, we have critically acclaimed wines that have captured the attention of leading tastemakers. Our restaurants and gastronomy are renowned. Once again, we feature on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018. Our ingredients are fresh, traceable and delicious. Our food markets routinely star on social media. We are globally known for our friendly hospitality. These are all massive drawcards.

“Fortunately, tourism in the Western Cape is the region’s fastest-growing sector, employing over 200 000 people and generating R17 billion for the economy each year. We believe the potential is there to grow the number of jobs to 300 000. All of us can help to make that happen. My view is that the new Wine & Food Tourism Awards could play a definite role in doing so.”

Serving as the Awards Programme Chairperson is Jean-Pierre Rossouw, best known as the publisher of Platter’s South African Wine Guide and Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide.

There will be a maximum of three honourees in each of the following judging categories:

Innovation – concepts, products and services that break the mould and offer a unique experience or contribution while promoting food and wine tourism. This category will be judged by marketing thought-leader Steve Massey, strategic marketing expert Mac Mabidilala as well as tourism professional and co-founder of the Oranjezicht City Farm Sheryl Ozinsky.

Service Excellence – wine and food industries in SA that excel in service, judged by tourism and hospitality expert Horst Frehse, conferencing specialist Gwynneth Matthews and accomplished sommelier Higgo Jacobs.

Authentic South African Experience – initiatives that allow consumers to fully immerse themselves in an experience that is true to South African culture and promotes our country’s cultural heritage through wine and food. This will be judged by Wine.co.za founder and owner Judy Brower, hospitality entrepreneur Janet Pillai and wine industry marketing and communications consultant André Morgenthal.

The award-winners will have the opportunity to use the Wine & Food Tourism Awards logo on their marketing material for the following year. Participants may nominate as many wine and/or food establishments as they wish, in any or all of the categories, and nominations can be submitted via www.wineandfood.co.za until 10 June. The honourees will be announced at the Wine & Food Tourism Conference 2019 on the 18th of September at Spier.

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