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Record numbers at wine fest Print E-mail
06 September 2011

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The Soweto Wine Festival was well-received, with a record number of visitors enjoying the tastings and the ambience.

THE aroma of fine wine filled the air as sippers sniffed and swirled through a variety of blendsat the annual Soweto Wine Festival, held at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus.

Thuli Mlangeni and Mathapelo Malemela enjoy a glass of wine (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Thuli Mlangeni and Mathapelo Malemela enjoy a glass of wine (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Held over three evenings, from 1 to 3 September, the festival attracteda record 8 550participants – 1 002 more visitors than last year, and the highest since the first festival in 2004.

On display, were 950 fine South African wines, sponsored by Tops Spar, City Press, Kaya FMand DSTV.

On Saturday evening, visitors dressed to the nines strolled from one counter to the next, sniffing and swirling the best of wine that Mzansi has to offer. The festival drew huge support; in total there were 77 wine exhibitors, 24 operations sponsors, and 186 reporters from South Africa, Denmark and Botswana.

Local celebrities also put in an appearance, such as Connie Chiume, Percy Vilakazi and Peter se-Puma from the Rhythm City cast.Sippingon some top-notch wine, with the fine tunes of Simphiwe Dana playing the background – the Soweto Wine Festival made visitors feel like royalty.

Attesting to the success of event,Marilyn Cooper, the managing director of Cape Wine Academyand the co-founder of the Soweto Wine Festival, said the turn out wasproof enough that people in the city appreciated wine. This year’s festival was the best in terms of attendance, operations and flow of offerings.

Friends Aretha, Penny, Doris and Mphale enjoy the wine festival atmosphereFriends Aretha, Penny, Doris and Mphale enjoy the wine festival atmosphereThe event is on the Arts Alive festival calendar.

“Apart from being the biggest, this has to be the most enjoyable festival to date. It was absolutely packed on Friday and Saturday but not uncomfortably so because of the new and improved layout and flow of the event,” Cooper said.

“We also increased and improved our food court, where people could sit in style and eat delicious meals so that they could make a real night of it.”

Also satisfied by the success of the festival, Mnikelo Mangciphu, the co-founder of Tops Soweto Wine Festival and owner of Morara Wine Emporium in the heart of Soweto, said: “It just gets bigger and better every year but this is 12 months of hard work.

“I believe the festival adds economic value to Soweto every year as around 4 000 people are employed from set up, during and post festival. These range from hospitality managers and students to food providers to security to bar staff and construction people and many others.”

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Last Updated on 12 September 2011