Wine tourism is the way forward for the Western Cape

Tourism, not agriculture, is the future for the Western Cape, according to Charles Back, whose Fairview farm is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa.

“You can’t get away with wine tastings only anymore” says Back. “You have to create an overall experience for visitors.”

Back is putting his money where his mouth is by investing in his Spice Route operation, which offers an array of activities and experiences for the visitor in addition to the traditional wine tasting.

Situated in Paarl not far from the Fairview farm, and offering some of the best views in the Cape, the new venture includes the Spice Route tasting room and Spice Route Restaurant, a craft brewery, grappa distillery, farm stall, chocolatier and glass blowing works, with authenticity and craftsmanship the key thread. A huge beer garden called The Barley and Biltong will be opening in the near future, also specialising in biltong from various areas in South Africa.

Back already gets 500,000 feet annually through the doors of his Fairview operation and with a steady stream of European and American visitors to the area, he now anticipates that Africa is looking to supply the swell of new visitors from the continent’s emerging economies.  “African tourism is the way forward – this is already happening in Johannesburg where they’ve seen an increase in domestic and African tourists. Tourism, not agriculture, is the future for the Western Cape and in increasing numbers those tourists will be from Africa.”

Next Tuesday, December 11, Drinks International is judging its own Wine Tourism Awards. This is the second year of the competition.