The vineyards of Lammershoek and Welgelegen lie on the back slope of the Paardeberg Mountain some 50km northeast of Cape Town on the border of the Paarl and Swartland wine regions. The Paardeberg is known as Shiraz and Chenin Blanc country.
Legend has it that the name Lammershoek, meaning “lamb’s corner”, originated from the fact that ewes with their young lambs sought shelter in the forests surrounding the farm, when threatened by the Black Eagle â€“ in Cape Dutch called the “Lammerfanger”.
The farm has been in existence since 1718, although the current owners Paul and Anna Kretzel only purchased it (along with neighbouring farm Welgelegen) in 1995. In those days the entire crop was delivered to the co-operative where they were getting R 1200 a ton for the Chenin Blanc which yielded 5 tons per hectare. Both Paul and Anna have come to winemaking from other careers – they were chemical engineer and nurse respectively – but they have picked up an impressive string of awards and accolades.
Their award winning Chenin was first made in 2000 and the vintage was rated in the top three wines at the 2002 South African Chenin Blanc Challenge out of some 150 entries. This wine almost always features in the top ten South African Chenin Blancâ€™s.
The label was designed by Stellenbosch based Haumann Smal Design Studio.
By Mike Carter.
Wine related tourism is becoming increasingly important for wineries. For example there are around 4.5 million visits to wineries in Australia annually. Domestic visitors make up the majority (4 million) and international visitors, the remainder. The overall value of wine tourism has been estimated at nearly A$1 billion annually, of which over A$400 million is spent in wineries and another A$550 million spent elsewhere by winery visitors.
Although smaller and still in its infancy, the South African wine tourism industry employs an estimated 60,000 people and an estimated R 4,2 billion is generated through wine tourism activities focused in the wine regions. Based on international experience South Africa has not even scratched the surface of the potential of wine tourism.
For many smaller wine producers, cellar door sales play an important role in the marketing mix and their ability to build and successfully manage wine tourism will determine their viability. However most employees working in wine tourism have been trained on the job in a fairly ad hoc way. In order for the industry to maximize its potential, it is essential that its workforce have the necessary skills and knowledge as tourists expect no less than a great experience and high standards of service.
But to create and sustain this level of performance requires on-going training and innovation. Enter the recently opened Queensland College of Wine Tourism, a new A$6.5 million purpose-built education and training institute for the Queensland wine industry. This project is sponsored by the Queensland government in partnership with the Queensland wine industry and is located at Stanthorpe, centre of the Granite Belt, Queenslandâ€™s first and premier wine region. Stages B, C, and D are under construction and include a training kitchen, teaching restaurant and laboratories.
The College is designed to be a lead centre and showcase for the Queensland wine tourism industry, providing on-going training for existing industry employers and employees, with a particular focus on new technologies. The College is working closely with the Wine Tourism Industry to meet training needs in skill shortage areas.
One of the most serious constraints to the development of the wine tourism industry worldwide is the availability of trained and qualified staff. However the education and training needs of the industry requires a considerable amount of investment. This demands both government and industry support and a clear vision to maximise opportunities. The potential for growth is huge.
By Mike Carter.