South Africa’s Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West is set to enjoy greater global recognition after being voted the top winery on the African continent, it said on Wednesday.

Vergelegen placed 34 overall in the prestigious World’s Best Vineyard 2019 competition, where a global voting panel analysed 1,500 wineries from 17 countries. Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco came first.

The list has been established to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage visitors to explore more of the world’s best wineries, both traditional and emerging producers.

“We are absolutely delighted by this award,” Vergelegen CEO Don Tooth said. “The Vergelegen team is committed to building South Africa’s reputation as a producer of world-class wines and this win is an acknowledgment of that passion.”

With tourism being a vital part of the economy, outperforming many key industries in job creation, the accolade was not only a proud moment for Vergelegen, but for the South African wine and tourism sectors overall, Tooth added.

Located an hour’s drive from the country’s tourism capital Cape Town, Vergelegen welcomes about 100,000 visitors annually, half from beyond South Africa’s borders.

It has enjoyed a renaissance since it was acquired by Anglo American in 1987 and opened to the public, with extensive investment in viticulture and hospitality facilities.

“We have hosted world leaders and members of royal families from several countries, as well as members of the public from all continents,” said Tooth.