Wine lovers, listen up. The much-anticipated annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival – usually held in July every year – will now be taking place at an earlier date, between 25 January and 3 February 2013. The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes’ decision to move this popular event is firstly to make the most of the height of summer in the region, giving locals and tourists alike yet another reason to visit while the weather is still balmy. Another reason for the change in dates was to coincide the festival with the birth of South African wine, according to a diary entry by Jan van Riebeeck dating back to 2 February 1659, when he wrote, ‘Today, praise be to God, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes.’ CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, Annareth Bolton, says, ‘We realised that it makes sense to showcase our world-class wines during a period when everything that Stellenbosch offers – its natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, excellent academic institutions and vibrant agricultural industries – is at its best and brightest. Perfect summer weather, the buzz of a new University year and the bustling start of the harvest season will all add new dimensions to the Stellenbosch Wine Festival experience.’ This January the festival will see an expanded 10-day programme unfold as the town of Stellenbosch comes together to showcase all that it has to offer. Geared towards both wine connoisseurs and those who merely appreciate a good glass of wine, guests can look forward to wine farm tours, dining at many of the area’s top award-winning restaurants, cultivar evenings, sporting events, art exhibitions and musical concerts during the course of the programme. Other highlights include:
- Those from the Stellenbosch member farms are expected to march through the streets with the Blessing of the Harvest and a Harvest Parade on Saturday, 26 January.
- The festival’s ‘Wine & Dine’ event will give visitors the opportunity to sample special food and wine pairing menus at a host of fantastic restaurants.
- Everything culminates at a three-day Wine Expo, from 1 to 3 February, on Die Braak in the heart of Stellenbosch. Here, you will be able to browse various interactive stands and indulge in delicious tasting programmes from over 130 wine and gourmet food producers.
- Enjoy soothing tunes at the Sundowner Concerts that will take place at the central stage while you sip on a glass of your favourite vintage.
Tickets for the Stellenbosch Wine Festival Wine Expo cost R150, including a glass, free wine tasting and a park and ride shuttle ticket. A full programme can be found at stellenboschwinefestival.co.za. Alternatively, call 021-886-4310 for further details.