South Africa’s largest and most loved travelling wine show – the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show – will not be touring in 2020.
“There were no guidelines to follow when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores however, we are confident that we have taken responsible and appropriate actions over the past two months which are in the best interests of all stakeholders. To this end, and taking many factors into consideration, we have made a difficult, but we believe timely, decision to cancel tour plans for 2020. Rather than delay the inevitable through a series of postponements and ‘hurry up and wait’ scenarios we would rather be decisive and deliberate in our actions to afford our exhibitors and stakeholders the best opportunity to plan effectively for the future,” says TOPS at SPAR Wine Show owner Andrew Douglas.
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ means different things to different people. In the case of the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show it means being versatile and innovative within an unprecedented wine industry landscape that has developed as a result of the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic.
“This timely decision allows us to redeploy our talented team who remain committed to ensuring the conversation around wine continues despite the current C-19 limitations. Whilst plans for the 2021 tour are already underway, we will continue to deliver a range of fun and interactive entry level online wine courses in partnership with Cathy Marston – Africa’s only Stage 2 Master of Wine (MW) student – during the balance of this year. We are also curating a body of digital wine content to match the current needs of industry which should bring meaningful value to local wine producers in the months ahead as they adjust their operations.”
Continuing on with the “servicing the current needs of industry” theme, Douglas is excited to launch the inaugural TOPS at SPAR Wine Show Great BIG Wine Survey (GBWS) later this month. “We have long held the belief that South Africa’s burgeoning middle class presents the single biggest opportunity for our wine industry. Working in collaboration with the Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES) - the tourism research entity at the North-West University, the GBWS will gain valuable insights into the habits and behaviours of our 70 000 strong database of “wine curious” past attendees in terms of how they perceive, experience, purchase and ritualise wine in their day to day lives.”
“Given that we always prefer to position ourselves as catalysts rather than experts we have been overwhelmed with the input from major industry stakeholders into the research process including but not limited to VINPRO, WOSA, WESGRO, Platters Wine Guide and the International Wine Centre. Findings will be readily available to industry free of charge to allow us all to plan and optimise marketing efforts going forward.”
Clearly with challenges of their own and operating in the most trying of circumstances, TOPS at SPAR has reaffirmed their long-term commitment to the show until 2022.
SPAR Group Liquor Manager, Mark Robinson readily stands in support of the necessary course of action regarding the 2020 tour and pivoted strategy: “We are delighted with the versality of the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show team. From the beginning they have been inventive and extremely proactive in ensuring they continue to deliver value to the wine industry and its stakeholder base in these difficult times.”
For further information, visit the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show website.