This week will be the first time in i think 5 years that we, Rietvallei Estate, will have a stand at the Wine X in JHB. Why? Because since 2009 we have completed our Special Select Range of Wines and we do need the exposure for these wines. Is a show like Wine X the place to do this? It definitely has debates for a yes and no answer, but i wanted to take a chance this year and see what the Wine X in JHB is all about and according to many sales figures, the people do buy wine at the show. Besides the fact that consumers in Gauteng has a lot more spending money than anywhere else in South Africa, why is the Wine X in Sandton so much better than in Cape Town??
Easy, people in CT are too spoilt for choice for 12 months of the year and this includes the Trade as well as the normal consumer. The restaurateur in Cape Town is bombarded with wine farms trying to spoil them, sending samples, big lunch or dinners and a trip to the winery which is sometimes only 20minutes away. During the year each wine farm tries his best to build relationships and grow business through direct and personal contact with establishments which isnt as easy to do in Gauteng or Durban or anywhere else. However, there is also a snobism factor in CT which there isnt necessarily in Gauteng. This part of the business is most frustating because the Trade does not want to give smaller, newer and lesser known brands the opportunity to be listed in their shop or restaurant.
I will go as far as to say that the Trade are more snobbish than the consumers, who are actually more willing to experiment and try out new wines and producers. They could so easily have a wine list of wonderful Gems that few people might have seen, but NO they want the "big, expensive" names on their list. Including this is also the fact that there are just soo many wine festivals in and around the Western Cape that the Wine X in Cape Town has just become another 'drinking spree' and unfortunately it isnt on a wine farm, but in a big old hall!!! People want to drive out to Darling, Robertson or Breede Kloof to see where the wines are actually made while relaxing with a bottle of wine in the stunning Cape Winelands and Constantia, Durbanville and Stellenbosch is on their doorstep anyway. So the "special price" that they have for the wines at the show is not going to convince me to buy it if i can get the wines year round anyway.
In short this is why i think Wine Shows have become a bit too much in recent years in the Western Cape, but i am very excited to see what Wine X Sandton has in store this week...Wednesday-Friday, Sandton Convention Centre here we come.