Innovating the wine tourism product: Food-and-wine pairing in Stellenbosch wine routes
Stellenbosch Wine Routes (SWR) is the oldest and membership-wise, the largest wine route in South Africa. Competition between wine regions and a clustering of more than 150 wineries in the Stellenbosch Wine Regions, the economic sustainability of wine tourism in the latter and their wineries is being challenged. The article describes the evolution of the SWR and explains how some wineries have managed to innovate and diversify their wine tourism products as part of the rejuvenation of the wineries and tourism area life cycles. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Primary data was collected from aerial photographs, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and a focus-group discussion. Secondary data was distilled from Platter’s, the leading wine guide for South Africa. It is argued SWR has evolved over 40 years to attain the critical mass needed to be a successful wine tourism area and to show all the signs of an established and mature wine tourism route. The first signs of innovation in the wine tourism product portfolio are also visible. One successful innovation is the offering of food-and-wine pairings. More than half of the wineries on the SWR have incorporated food-related products to complement their wine tourism product.
Keywords: Wine route, life cycle, innovation, pairing of food and wine, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
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