Welcome to the first Plett Wine and Bubbly Festival
Introductory speech by Peter Wallington, Chairman of Plett Tourism
A warm welcome to our Executive Mayor, Memory Booysen; to councilor Wayne Craig, municipal officials, special guests, media and friends. Importantly we welcome our sponsors: our headline sponsor Sasfin, who we thank for taking the plunge with us and hope this is the start of a long and rewarding relationship; the VIP launch sponsors The Plettenberg and Wesgro; our venue partner The Beacon Island Resort and a number of establishments who have helped out with accommodation – Aardmore Greens, Hunters Country Lodge, Stone Cottage, At T’niqua Stable Inn, Christiana Lodge, Redbourne Lodge, Dolphins Playground, That Place and the Plettenberg. And of course we thank Bitou Municipality for supporting Plett Tourism!
I’m going to make a few introductory remarks and then our Mayor will officially open our Festival. That’ll be followed by winemaker Anton Smal talking about the winelands and then Jon Tonkin from the Plett Winegrowers Association will say a few words and introduce Peter Tempelhof who is the executive chef for the Collection by Liz McGrath who will do a food pairing presentation. After that Anton will do a sabrage with the Mayor and then Patty Butterworth will wrap things up shortly before we head off to the Beacon Island.
From our side, a quick word on how this fits into our work … one of Plett Tourism’s key objectives is to build products which attract visitors to Plett out of season … and in so doing create employment and help build an inclusive economy.
This project has its roots in a conversation with Caroline Thorpe soon after Plett Tourism began its work … in short I found out two things from Caroline … that Plett had more than two or three wine estates, and that people would come from Port Elizabeth to Bramon for lunch.
A bit of homework began to suggest a product and a market and the realization our emerging wine industry was the foundation upon which to build our out of season strategy … and luckily we found quite breath-taking vineyards and wine farms to work with, which are producing 200,000 bottles a year, and winning awards along the way …
As the Plett Winelands, Brand Plett has the perfect out of season base from which to broaden Plett’s appeal, and theSasfinPlett Wine & Bubbly Festival is a shop window if you like to the 16 estates and farms, with no doubt more to come.
But that’s not all. We have developed the Plett Winelands Hiking Trails which will formally launch early next year, and of course there is also the SasfinPlett Winelands Golf Classic which debuted yesterday.There will be more to come from the Plett Winelands, but that’s for another day.
The Plett Birding Route, on the other hand, is a work in progress and will integrate with Plett Winelands at certain points, and create new opportunities elsewhere. And so with the Plett Winelands and the Plett Birding Route we will build a series of compelling leisure propositions that bring visitors to Plett and help shift the seasonal economic landscape of this town…and all of this is enhanced by our air service from CEMAIR and working airport thanks to Russel Honeywill and his colleagues.
Our estimate is that the winelands and the hiking trails will create 700 permanent and casual jobs over the next few years, and that will be supplemented by hundreds more as accommodation establishments, restaurants and activities respond to the growing numbers of wine and hiking tourists.
This Sasfin Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival is the result of much work by the Plett Tourism team of Cindy, Patty, Janet, Brendon, Luckz, Thandi, Emily, Lorna and Grahame, and our event partner, NatureSport Company, in particular Daron, Andy and Louise… And obviously none of this could take place without the passion and investment and involvement of the wine farms and the Plettenberg Bay Winegrowers Association.
It gives me great pleasure to ask our Mayor, Memory Booysen, to address you.