#Stellenblog kicks off with a digital bang

Bloggers exploring #Stellenblog. From left: Fazielah Williams, Allison Foat, Nadia Krige, Kirsten Duff and Talya Goldberg
bloggers exploring #Stellenblog (L.t.r)Fazielah Williams, Allison Foat, Nadia Krige, Kirsten Duff, Talya Goldberg LR.jpg

The experiential #Stellenblog blogger campaign kicked off with a digital bang on Monday, 5 May, when the pioneering Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes caused quite a stir on social media networks with some of the most influential international and national bloggers uncovering and digitally sharing the secrets and stories of South’s Africa’s oldest and foremost wine route with the world.

The launch party was held at Dornier Estate’s regal Homestead, an original Sir Herbert Baker design, and saw a cool and connected crowd of more than 200 bloggers, online influencers, Stellenbosch glitterati and local food and wine personalities blogging, tweeting and Instagramming up a #Stellenblog storm

This all happened during a homegrown feast of the finest Stellenbosch wines and food infused with live music entertainment by local musicians such as Gerald Clark, Schalk Joubert, Henry Steel, Schalk van der Merwe and Luna Paige.

This unrivalled celebration of all things Stellenbosch saw celebrated icons such as Kleine Zalze, The House of JC Le Roux, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Tokara, Spier, Simonsig, Dornier, Majeka House, The Devon Valley Hotel, Oldenburg, Van Ryns, Warwick Estate, Delheim, Middelvlei and Lanzerac pulling out all the stops.

The high-ranking international bloggers for #Stellenblog were selected for the quality of their content, ideal target audiences and social media reach, representing the wine route’s core international markets: the USA, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. They include the award-winning Matt Long of the luxury adventure travel site, Landlopers (; Niamh Shields ( who was recently recognised by The Times magazine as the most influential food blogger in the UK; Norman Röhlig of I-REF (, one of the most reputable lifestyle websites in Berlin, Germany, and Keith Jenkins of the opulent Velvet Escape travel blog (

Prior to the party, these international bloggers were joined by a trendy troop of local bloggers and online influencers for an intriguing #Stellenblog Tweet-Up of discoveries when they were let loose in the oak-lined streets for a see-sip-and-savour of the Stellenbosch Way of Life. This sensory meander included stopovers at Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar, Brampton Wine Studio, the SMAC Art Gallery and the 5-star Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa whilst Thrifty sponsored all the transport on the day.

By the 5th of May, the campaign’s launch day, it had already generated a digital reach of 20 million opportunities to see (OTS) content generated via Twitter with a reach of 2.1 million accounts. Over 550 pictures have been shared on Instagram. Hashtracking, a twitter tracking tool, shows more than 23 million OTS and a reach of 2.7 million Twitter accounts, whilst the global online tracking agency Brandseye, shows a slightly higher OTS because they also monitor Facebook.

The rest of the #Stellenblog week comprises an itinerary of bucket-list activities hosted in and around Stellenbosch by locals in the know, with the bloggers immersing themselves as digital ambassadors to peel away the layers of Stellenbosch and share their first hand experiences with the world.

This week-long digital exploration of the beauty and bounty of the region, forms part of the wine route’s year-long Stellenbosch Experience wine tourism marketing campaign, which was initiated in conjunction with Stellenbosch 360, to showcase the region’s authentic, multifaceted and must-experience wine tourism offerings on a global scale.

“The web and social media have levelled the playing field somewhat, making it possible for destinations like Stellenbosch to take advantage of new trends and use digital marketing to inspire travellers to visit,” shares Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, former CEO of Cape Town Tourism and owner of Destinate, an international tourism marketing agency and the driving force behind the Stellenbosch Experience campaign. “Word of mouth through social media is now the most powerful tool for any destination marketer today and we are tapping into local pride using citizens and bloggers to share Stellenbosch’s story with the world,” she added.

#Stellenblog is hosted and digitally monitored in association with iAmbassador – renowned for successful blogging campaigns like #Blogville in Emilia Romagna, Italy. This online initiative is also supported by South African Tourism and is aligned with its #MeetSouthAfrica and Indaba 2014 programmes, which will see a number of top international bloggers visit South Africa, and especially Durban from 10-12 May.

The international #Stellenblog bloggers were flown to South Africa courtesy of South African Airways and connectivity was provided by Afrihost. Pick ‘n Pay, another campaign partner, has stocked the Homestead, home to the bloggers for the week, with typical South African food and snacks.

For more information on the Stellenbosch Experience and #Stellenblog campaigns visit StellenBlog at or contact Mariette du Toit-Helmbold at or phone 083 225 5955.

Leanne Sutherland


Tokara's  Directors Reserve White was paired with Cured line fish, sushi rice, roast lemon puree and fennel by chef Richard Carstens LR.jpg Tokara chef Richard Carstens in action LR.jpg The #Stellenblog villa aka the Dornier Homestead LR.jpg Majeka treats at #Stellenblog LR.jpg Liezel van Der Westhuizen (middle) with well known Cape Town Jewellery designers, Philippa Green (left) and Ida Elsje LR.jpg International bloggers Matt Long (Landlopers) (in the middle) and Keith Jenkins (Velvet Escape) enjoying the JC Le Roux dessert table LR.jpg Bloggers and online influencers met at Bartinney for the #Stellenblig tweet up LR.jpg #Stellenblog blogger Allison Foat at the Travelling Baboon by artist Wilma Cruise as part of the Kom Sit art project LR.jpg
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Issue 58