TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival attracts 3,485 visitors

Glamour and love was the name of the day at the 2nd annual TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival on the Rooftop of the Gugulethu Square Mall on 25 and 26 May 2012.

With 3485 people attending the wine festival over the two evenings, which is over 1000 more people than last year, the glamorous of all ages, race and cultures sipped their way through the wide selection of over 300 wines spreading the love wherever they went. With every shade of colour, economic status and culture mingling, sipping, laughing, dancing and chatting like old friends, one would never guess we were in the middle of Gugulethu. But we were and it was an amazing experience for all, and as uplifting spiritually and emotionally as one could ever experience. It is wine that will bring us together, not politicians.

Says festival co-founder, owner of Mzoli’s Place and business mogul, Mzoli Ngcawuzele “Wine is the nectar of love and hard work, from those who make it for those who drink it, and it has a way of bringing people together. Gugulethu was the most happening place to be on the weekend and for good reason. I am enormously proud of this festival and wish to say a big thank you to all who had a part in organising it, sponsoring it, believing in it and to those that came from far and wide to experience it, this was for you.”

Mzoli Ngcawuzele

Ngcawuzele continued, “To the inspired and business savvy I say this; we have brought this wine into Gugulethu, and you have experienced the numbers of our people that love it and want it, and it will grow every year. Now go and make a business from wine. It is on your doorstep.”

Mark Robinson, TOPS Group Liquor Manager said, “TOPS at SPAR are proud to headline this festival as it encourages diversity and is lifestyle inspirational first and foremost and these are values we encourage within our retailers and in our business. Creating an environment in which people of all economic status, race, and culture can connect on the same level is a fresh way to meet your customers and we love it. Our TOPS Wine Festivals in Soweto, Gugulethu and Umlazi is the new way to connect with people.”

Says Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master, CEO of the Cape Wine Academy, co-founder of the TOPS Soweto Wine Festival and organiser of the wine exhibitors at this festival “This festival is fantastic and the people of Gugulethu and surrounding areas are ready for wine as part of their lifestyle. We have had rave reviews from wine exhibitors, wine media and visitors alike. What I love about this festival is that the visitors sincerely want to know about wine. There is no pretence. They ask questions and give instant feedback, whether you want to hear it or not. They are sponges hungry for knowledge and have a genuine interest in the history of these wines and why they taste the way they do. Our visitors are the future wine buyers and it is important that winemakers connect with them at these festivals.”

Cathy Marston, wine editor of Food24, tweeted whilst at the festival, “Bigger & MUCH better than last year – smart & very well organised according to exhibitors. And the whole vibe here is fab. Other wine shows – play some music, set a scene, create a vibe.”

Nederburg red winemaker Wilhelm Pienaar and MasterChef South Africa judge Pete Goffe-Wood hosted the interactive Nederburg Taste Theatre and every session was packed.

Singer performer, Idols judge and Metro FM presenter, Unathi Msengana and her 9 piece band raised the roof. Says Unathi “The universe was in alignment in Gugulethu and it was pure magic. To the people of Gugulethu, you rock there and back! It was an honour and I hope we did you proud. We will be back. TOPS at SPAR, you guys are visionary.”

Nigel Pierce, DJ at Good Hope FM sums it up. He went on air today and said, “Gugs is a really, really nice event. We need more of it, I hope it grows, I hope it grows in its popularity but it must not stick only to Gugs, it must extend to other nodes. We have to break down these barriers and these stereotypes; we’ve got to chip away, that’s exactly what they’ve done with the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival.”

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism says, “Thank you to everybody who joined us at the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival – product owners, organisers, sponsors, media and visitors. Cape Town Tourism is proud to wholeheartedly support the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival for its ability to showcase Gugulethu as a tourism and business destination and the potential that it holds as a new event to profile Cape Town as a food and wine destination – especially in winter. Events play a  pivotal role in the tourism industry in Cape Town and we are working with Cape Town event organisers to establish an annual event calendar that offers a diverse range of experiences – showcasing the iconic and unexpected attractions in our city – and that spread the benefits of tourism across the metropole.”

Lungile Mbalo

New this year was the TOPS Food & Chill Out Zone, which offered a selection of specialist coffees, pizza, oysters and Mzoli’s shisa nyama, and all but the Oyster Lady sold out.
Unathi Msengana

Nederburg Taste Theatre

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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