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Tops at Spar seven-city Wine Show delivers record growth

Business Report logo Business Report 2019-12-11 BR Correspondent
Patience Jonathan et al. standing in front of a store: SA’s largest travelling wine show achieved like-for-like year-on-year growth of 41 percent in exhibitor numbers and 25 percent in footfall. Picture: Supplied © Provided by Independent Media SA’s largest travelling wine show achieved like-for-like year-on-year growth of 41 percent in exhibitor numbers and 25 percent in footfall. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Great growth, together with the wholehearted enjoyment of some of South Africa’s finest wines, were the main hallmarks of the 2019 Tops at Spar Wine Show, which wound its way to seven cities around the country. 

The show achieved a like-for-like year-on-year growth of 41 percent in exhibitor numbers and 25 percent in footfall.

Debbie Combrink, chief executive of the Wine Show, says in exhibitor numbers, Durban topped the charts with a 61 percent increase in wine estates at the show. Johannesburg had a 48 percent increase and Cape Town came in with 47 percent. In footfall growth, Durban achieved a phenomenal 43 percent increase and Cape Town 41 percent, with Johannesburg, which came off a strong 2018 base, showed a 31 percent growth.

She attributes the growth in part to “our strong marketing strategy that incorporated a larger targeted digital marketing campaign than ever before in our 14-year history and a focused PR campaign. This significantly extended the reach of the show, and encouraged many positive online conversations.”

The increased digital marketing efforts resulted in a 65 percent new audience, which contributed to the growth, and which saw the under-40 audience increase to 76 percent, of which 41 percent were under-30. Combrink comments that, “From the feedback and the figures, it’s clear that this new market is keen to explore wines and enthusiastically learn about them.” 

Andrew Douglas, Owner and Producer of Tops at Spar Wine Show says that the drawcards to the shows for visitors were overall, the large number of wines on offer under one roof, unlimited tastings, and free shipping on cases with the convenient Sip n Ship service, which saw an increase in uptake of 283 percent year on year, as well as the SA Wine Tasting Championships, which were held at the show in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Following the debut Tops at Spar show in East London, Exhibitor Ruan Willers of Stellenbosch Vineyards comments, “The clientele really showed great interest in quality products, with our premium wines reaching its highest sales rate compared to any other region for the Tops at Spar Wine Show series. I’m sure the East London show will only grow in the future.”

The success of the 2019 shows has seen headline sponsor, Tops at Spar, extend its sponsorship to 2022. According to Mark Robinson, Group Liquor Manager of Spar, the group is delighted to extend its investment. “We have an important role to play in the development of both the wine category and industry in this country – and this show delivers a place for meaningful wine talk that benefits producers, retailers and consumers.”

The 2020 Tops at Spar Wine Show’s destinations and dates are Durban from 7 to 9 May; Johannesburg from 4 to 6 June; Cape Town from 9 to 11 July; Port Elizabeth from 30 July to 1 August; Pretoria from 1 to 3 October; East London from 5 to 7 November; and Nelspruit from 26 to 28 November.

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