Mzoli Ngcawuzele, Premier Helen Zille, Lungile Mbalo and Vivienne Quann on Friday 27th May 2011

TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival is the star of Cape Town

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The debut TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival was the shining star in Cape Town over the 27th and 28th May weekend. It is being hailed as a major success by the 2050 visitors, 37 exhibitors and over 120 media that attended over the two evenings on the rooftop of the Gugulethu Square Mall.

The festival was officially opened by Cape Town Premier Helen Zille, who commented that you can no longer say Cape Town is not a wonderfully integrated city as one looked over the sea of people that packed the wine tasting marquee on Friday. She thanked co-founders Mzoli Ngcawuzele and Lungile Mbalo for their vision in bringing people together in wine and spent an hour walking, talking and taking questions.

Mzoli Ngcawuzele, co-founder and owner of Mzoli’s Place, says “Thank you to TOPS at Spar and all the sponsors, media and residents that attended to make this festival the huge success it was. Thank you to our Premier Helen Zille for her unwavering commitment, support and vision for the growth of her Gugulethu township. It will be bigger and better next year and I just can’t wait! Think fun, think Gugulethu Wine Festival.”

Marilyn Cooper, Managing Director of Cape Wine Academy, Cape Wine Master and organiser of the wineries to the festival says, “This is the start of a new dawn for wineries and Cape Town’s new consumers. The 2050 visitors to the festival are our future wine consumers and this event, and together with the Soweto Wine Festival, is the Cape Wine Academy’s vision of wine education coming to life. We applaud the wineries that supported the debut festival. We look forward to many more wineries attending next year.”

It is a sobering certainty to our South African Wineries that we have a very large, very smart, new wine-loving market and they are just across the road and they must adjust their marketing campaigns to include wine festivals like Soweto and Gugulethu and speak to this market directly. It is the ‘trailblazers’, the early adopters that will remain in the hearts and minds in the long run.

Co-founder Lungile Mbalo says, “It was an excellent event. We are very proud. Although there is always room for improvement, the festival has been embraced by so many people from the Western Cape and the rest of the country. The mere fact that the First Citizen of Cape Town [Premier Helen Zille] was there made this an exciting and exceptional festival for all. We are very grateful to the wineries that supported this festival in its debut year and to our sponsors and we look forward to the next one.”

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