BEGIN your new year on a happy high by joining the colourful, annual harvest parade on Saturday, 28 January, in Stellenbosch – the heartland of South African wine. Adding to its prominence, the event takes place in the same week that South Africa commemorates the 364th year since wine was first made in Mzansi.
Ours is the only country in the world with a recorded official date – 2 February 1659 – for this occasion. Harvest festivals are however ubiquitous in wine farming communities around the world, and serve not only to celebrate but also to bless the impending season when grapes are gathered for the new wine.
“Harvest is the moment Mother Nature reveals her reward for a year’s worth of care for the vineyards,” shares Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager Elmarie Rabe.
The Stellenbosch Wine Harvest Parade takes place in collaboration with the local municipality and Stellenbosch Wine Routes, the country’s oldest wine route. Annually at an allotted date, the streets of Stellenbosch are lined with watchers who come to see the floats and their dressed-up entourage. Among them are winemakers and workers, and lovers of wine too. It starts 9.30am at the Toy Museum in Market Street and winds its way among the town’s renowned oak-lined streets to conclude at the Town Hall for a short ceremony. Here, the mayor of Stellenbosch, who is also the festival patron, will officially bless the harvest. The parade will then depart and conclude back in Market Street.
The hotly contested trophies for best spirit and best float will also be awarded and the wine route encourages young and old to come and cheer them on.
More information is available here; call 021 886 8275 or email [email protected]. Also follow @StellWineRoute on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.