South Africa's Cap Classique industry is bucking international trends
with an effective 20% year-on-year growth - a rate unheard of in any
other category within the wine business.
This is according to Pieter Ferreira, chairman of the Cap Classique Association, which is hosting the Johannesburg and Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festivals again this year.
MasterCard Worldwide is sponsoring both festivals for the first time this year. The festivals will be taking place on the 18th and 19th August 2012 in Johannesburg and on the 1st and 2nd December 2012 in Franschhoek.
“The growth of the local Cap Classique industry has been particularly significant since 2005, and our records show that the volume of bubbly produced in South Africa nearly doubles every five years” says Ferreira. “We have also seen an increase of 50% in the number of visitors who are attending the Cap Classique and Champagne Festivals, with a record 3000 consumers expected to attend the 2012 Johannesburg event alone.
Ferreira ascribes this significant growth to the fact that South Africans are increasingly embracing bubbly as a drink to be enjoyed every day, regardless of the occasion.
“We are particularly excited about the fact that the annual increase in consumption is largely being driven by local demand with only a small percentage of production being exported to countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany and the USA. Locally-produced bubblies are clearly gaining popularity with South Africans, and we’re seeing this reflected in the growth in the increasing popularity of our festivals,” he says.
“The Festival will see Johannesburg bubbly fans interacting with winemakers from 26 South African estates, along with representatives from several French brands at the Country Club Johannesburg in Auckland Park,” says Ferreira. “They will be able to sample some of the country’s finest Cap Classiques in the Country Club’s exquisite gardens, while tantalising their taste-buds with goods from the several exclusive food stalls that will complement the bubbly offerings.”
Visitors will be spoiled for choice, because although the most popular Cap Classiques are those produced in the Brut-style, estates will offer bubblies produced in the Blanc de Blancs, Rose and Sweet styles for tasting as well.
Chef Dario de Angeli, the award-winning talent behind the invitation-only World MasterCard Gourmet Theatre at the Festival, says that this growing variety of Cap Classiques is one of the reasons he is seeing his patrons drink more of this category than ever before.
“The wider variety and the appealing prices of Cap Classiques are rapidly changing South Africans’ perceptions that bubblies should only be kept for special celebrations,” he says. “Just as there are locally produced wines that are either extravagant or affordable, so too are there Cap Classiques or even French champagnes that fit into both these categories,” explains de Angeli
“Local consumers are increasingly choosing Cap Classiques over other similarly priced or more expensive choices on the wine list. With the number of Cap Classique producers in the country having grown to at least 110 estates producing around seven million bottles each year, they are also presented with a wider selection from which to choose, both in restaurants and in retail outlets,” he says
Mark Hearne, vice president, marketing for South Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, says that MasterCard’s association with the Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is the first event in its local MasterCard Moments programme. “The World MasterCard Gourmet Theatre, which is exclusive to World MasterCard cardholders, will offer a unique food and bubbly pairing experience, hosted in an exquisitely appointed hospitality area.”
“Chef Dario will be preparing some of his signature culinary delights, and we have arranged opportunities for our guests to engage directly with the country’s leading Cap Classique producers. This is a rare opportunity to experience the best of South Africa’s culinary talent in partnership with the country’s finest Cap Classiques – a truly priceless experience”
The Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival presented by MasterCard, offers visitors the opportunity to sample some of the country’s finest Cap Classiques, on the afternoons of 18 and 19 August 2012. Tickets cost R250 each on www.webtickets.co.za, with a 10% discount if they are purchased using a MasterCard card. Tickets include a MasterCard contactless payment card with 10 tasting vouchers. Further vouchers can be purchased on the day, and visitors can also buy food to complement their bubbly tasting. MasterCard cardholders will also enjoy a 10% discount on any Cap Classiques purchases they make at the Festival. The dress code is elegantly black and white.