At the 2020 Wine and Food Tourism Awards in September, Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate was recognised as one of South Africa’s top three honourees in the Innovation category. Situated at the gateway to the Walker Bay wine region outside Hermanus, the estate is an hour’s drive from Cape Town International airport.
The estate received the award for the creation of the ‘Ultimate Benguela’ visitor experience. This includes a wine tasting pontoon tour of the lagoon, to see the diverse marine and birdlife. There are over 100 species of birds in the protected reserve and extensive wetlands, as well as mountain leopards and wild horses.
This 200-hectare wine estate is becoming a popular ecotourism destination located in the UNESCO designated Kogelberg Biosphere. It is at the lowest height, at sea level, and with the longest seaboard of any vineyard in the world, says owner Penny Streeter, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bot River lagoon.
The estate is committed to the standards recommended by Wines of South Africa (WoSA) and its Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) programme. With 65 hectares under vine, the maritime climate offers a terroir that produces grapes of distinctive quality.
“Ultimate Benguela showcases the best in viticulture and environmental protection in an entertaining day out for lovers of good food and wine,“ says estate owner Penny Streeter.
“The experience demonstrates how people can live and work in harmony within the fragile beauty of our natural environment, to harvest wonderful produce and a life-enhancing experience for visitors, workers and the wider community.”
Visitors can tour the new state-of-the-art winery and wine-making exhibition and dine in the Moody Lagoon Restaurant. It offers local seafood and wine-paired food options, guided by the resident sommeliers.
Ultimate Benguela is inclusive, for everyone, says Penny Streeter. This is one of the few wine estates fully wheel-chair accessible. For the children, there is a Pirate Adventure Golf and regular entertainment.
The Wine and Food Tourism awards were established in 2019 to inspire and promote local wine, food and hospitality in a variety of categories. Panel judging chair Jean-Pierre Rossouw, publisher of Rossouw’s Restaurants and the Platter’s South African Wine Guide said what had been particularly noteworthy in 2020 was how the setbacks precipitated by the pandemic had not held back tourism providers from innovating.
“On the contrary, they have continued to improve their offerings, make themselves more accessible and to raise standards in their execution. It says a lot about their willingness and capacity to adapt.”