With all that has taken place in the past twelve months, with regard to the economy, the state of the wine industry and the anticipation of the Fifa World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the December/January tourist season has been a rather tricky one to predict.

A year ago many were expecting a nine month long ‘season’ for tourism related industries, stretching from October 2009 right through until the completion of the World Cup. On the other hand the financial pressure and low consumer confidence would inevitably have an impact on the local tourism industry. Outside of the classic Cape attractions, those who have a niche tourism offering, such as that which the wine industry has developed, rely both on local support as well as the international visitor.  If I were an economist, I could likely give a list of possible scenarios and their implications for the wine industry. But I am not, so I thought that I would give put down a few of my thoughts based on observations over the past few months.

Our tasting room and restaurant are busy. Feet on the farm have increased and we continue to see an encouraging mix of locals (regulars and new visitors) as well as foreign visitors. That being said, visitors are more aware of what they spend their money on and are increasingly seeking out value and experience as opposed to purely extravagant product-related purchases.

The cheese factory is running 24 hours a day to keep up with the demand for our ‘Ripe and Ready to eat’ Camembert and Brie, which have enjoyed a great surge n sales around the country since their launch and packaging upgrade earlier in the year.

The Goatshed restaurant has had a ‘bit of work done’ improving the outdoor terrace area and the tables have been busy every day, keeping the staff on their toes and allowing them to put some of their winter waiter training into practice.

This has been further emphasized by the success that we have enjoyed with the recent launch of Fairview’s endorsed label, La Capra. This retail-oriented (as opposed to restaurant-focused) range of wines have been quietly introduced into the South African wine market, initially through our tasting room. Well-made, fruit forward, easy to enjoy and understand and affordable pricin from the cellar door is clearly proving to be a combination that is finding favour with the value wary wine consumer. We have introduced a rather nifty six-bottle La Capra carry pack which can be seen in many visitors hands as they leave the farm.

The acclaim and press that has been generated by the launch of Michael Olivier and Neil Pendock’s Good Value Wine Guide further endorses the consumer’s realisation that there are many fantastic wines out there that won’t cost you and arm and a leg.

With Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations just around the corner, it seems like it is going to be a season for La Capra to be enjoyed around many tables. A sign of the times perhaps, and affirmation that the wine industry needs to work even harder. But also an encouraging sign, that consumers continue to have faith in the what wineries such as Fairview have on offer and that good quality products don’t need to be at basement prices to be appreciated.

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1 Comment on La Capra Christmas?

  1. Well I hope the holidays treated the winery business there well. Long story how I ended up here on your blog, but it has to do more with goats than wine.

    It’s a small world however, as I notice your short blog roll includes the Sacramento Wine Region (which is where I’m from).

    Best wishes for 2010!

    - Margaret

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