A HIGHLIGHT on the South African wine calendar, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay takes place at the picturesque Coetzenburg Sports Grounds from Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25.
The three-day event showcases the crème de la crème of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, and is presented in a modern, family-friendly, relaxed and entertaining format. Little surprise this festival has become well-known among wine lovers far and wide for exhibiting some of the finest wines our country has to offer.
“The festival arena is a beautiful and elegant setting against the dramatic backdrop of the Jonkershoek Mountains,” says Elmarie Rabe of Stellenbosch Wine Routes. “There is just something magical about feeling the warm sun on your skin while sipping on an ice cold glass of Stellenbosch white or rosé; you hear people laughing and having a great time and there’s lekker live music.”
It is truly a world-class event which has evolved into a sophisticated affair from its humble beginning in 1976 when it was the first wine festival in the country, says Rabe. “The look and feel is refined with rows of white snow-peak tents, wooden garden furniture, and we bring in a lot of trees, so anyone will feel right at home,” she says. And of course, have that all-important shade to keep cool. Red is for wine in the glass, not the face.
This year the festival will offer two exceptional consumer experiences, including a General Wine Tasting Experience and a Premium Wine Tasting Experience. The General Wine Tasting Experience is the opportunity to taste and buy from a selection of the best wines from 60 farms. The ticket includes a branded wine glass and a cashless card with 20 pre-loaded tastings. The Premium Wine Tasting Experience includes access to award winning Wine of Origin Stellenbosch wines, seven cultivar-themed tables and a chance to meet the winemakers, a branded wine glass, cashless card with 30 pre-loaded tastings, and a complimentary charcuterie platter per person.
To clarify, the cashless card visitors get with their tickets will be pre-loaded with the relevant number of tastings, and every stand – whether you’re buying a glass or a bottle or case of wine, or food – will have a point-of-sale system that works like a debit card. Should you run out of credit – which, let’s face it, is a real possibility once you catch the wine fever – the card can be reloaded with more coupons.
“In the summer months producers generally show bubbles, rosé and deliciously cold whites; but don’t forget about the red wines. There will be plenty on offer,” comments Rabe.
We’re smack bang in harvest season – one of the most exciting times of the year, says Rabe. “Pair that with sunshine, cold crisp wines and delicious food in the Gourmet Lane catering for varied tastes from easy to something a bit more upmarket and snazzy, and the many tourists and visitors to the region have a great recipe for experiencing the magic of Stellenbosch. There is an excitement and electricity in the air and barrels full of reasons to cheers life, laughter and good wine.”
The Momentum Health Kiddies Area – a free check-in service where little and medium-sized ones between two and 12 years old – will keep them looked after and entertained while their parents make merry. I know how these things go…you taste a wine, you love a wine, you want to buy a wine. But lugging around a few cases takes the fun out of it a little bit Shop away, my fellow wine lovers – Aramex offers a delivery service for all wine purchased at the festival, free to any address in South Africa. Note to self: check bank balance…
One of you can win two tickets to the festival on Saturday, February 24. Click the “CONTACT” button to send me your daytime contact details, and name one of the experiences at this year’s event. Closing date is Tuesday, February 20.
· General Wine Experience: Friday R150, Saturday R190, Sunday R190 (includes tasting glass, access to the General Wine Experience tasting area and a cashless card loaded with 20 wine tastings)
· Premium Wine Experience: Friday – Sunday R350 (includes a tasting glass, access to the General Wine Experience and Premium Wine Experience tasting areas, and cashless card loaded with 30 wine tastings)
Children under 18 enter free and will not receive a tasting glass or cashless card. Tickets are limited, so book here now to avoid disappointment.
· Friday, February 23, 4pm till 9pm
· Saturday, February 24, 12pm till 8pm
· Sunday, February 25, 12pm till 6pm