Our Winelands have so many events, festivals and local specialities to explore, that it is often difficult to decide where to start. Do you look for something small and local, such as the Snoek and Patatfees near Piketberg, or join the francophiles at the Franschhoek Bastille Festival?
We’ve scoured the web and come up with a few favourites of our own.
If the thought of the cold, dark months ahead are getting you down, head to Tulbagh in June to celebrate their annual Christmas in Winter. The village will be decorated with Christmas lights and trees, and traditional Christmas dinners will be served at local restaurants, so make sure to book your place at the table. This is the perfect excuse to load the family in the car, and enjoy some true South African country hospitality.
The small town was famously shaken to its foundation in 1969 by an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. There are quite a few museums documenting the quake and subsequent rebuild in the Historic Drostdy Street, so put these on your list when you visit.
While you are there, explore some of the well-known wine farms in the region. Drostdy Hof wines should be on your to-do list if you are a lover of this unpretentious local favourite. Saronsberg is home not only to award-winning wines, but also boasts an impressive art gallery and sculpture garden displaying works by well-known local artists.
In the heart of this beautiful valley you will find Montpellier Wine Estate, known for its purpose-built wedding chapel, perched on the hills surrounded by the majesty of the Witzenberg mountain range. Many of the local wine farms offer accommodation on site, so make sure to book a cottage in the vineyards, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the vines and mountains.
Did you know Napier was once the sweet potato growing capital of South Africa?
In celebration of this humble tuber, the 24th Napier Patatfees will take place on the weekend of 16-18 June 2017.
The festival will not only showcase the history of the town and the fantastic patat tuber, there will also be a variety of sporting events to keep the exercise enthusiasts happy. The Patatfees offers family-friendly fun and a good dose of community spirit, celebrating both the beauty of the South African landscape and the enthusiasm of its small-town inhabitants.
For one night only, wine farms and restaurants in the desirable Helderberg region spread their rainbow colours in a showcase of fine local fare that takes place in Somerset West on Thursday, 15 June. This year, you’re invited to shed the winter blues by donning something red – the theme colour that makes an eye-catching statement.
“Taste the Helderberg rapidly became one of the mainstays on the calendar of Western Cape wine events,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager Elmarie Rabe. “Memorable social gatherings are rarely as good without great food and wine, and Taste the Helderberg has it all.”
Taste the Helderberg’s flavour smorgasbord will once again be served up from 17h00 to 21h00 at the landmark NH The Lord Charles Hotel – an arrangement that’s proven ideal for many visitors who traditionally make a weekend of it in the light of the public holiday the following day, Friday, 16 June.
Tickets to the event are R100pp and should advisedly be booked online at www.wineroute.co.za. If any tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door.
It’s mushroom time in the Winelands again. Soon, wild mushroom foragers will head into the forests in search of these delicious delicacies that only pop out for a short time in the year, and you’ve got the chance to join them, do so. Delheim Estate’s popular Mushroom Forage on 15, 16 and 30 June and 1 July will open up the mesmerising world of the fascinating fungi and teach you how to identify, forage and clean your very own, hand-picked mushrooms.
Participants are limited to 40 people per day, which allows Delheim to maintain the delicate balance between sharing a family passion and protecting the environment where the mushrooms appear. Delheim’s Mushroom Forage was awarded “Highly Commended” in the Best Wine Event category in the Drinks International Wine Tourism Challenge 2017, so don’t miss out on this experience.
Boschendal is also offering a special weekend package on 3 and 4 June 2017, combining a mushroom workshop and guided forage with overnight accommodation, dinner, breakfast and lunch. After checking in on Saturday afternoon, enjoy an insightful and informative talk and walk led by avid mushroom hunter Justin Williams, whose love for mushrooms is infectious.
Dinner will be at the Werf Restaurant, where you can look forward to a three-course farm to table meal prepared by executive chef Christiaan Campbell. After breakfast on Sunday morning, join the mushroom forage with Justin. Once the fungi have been collected, a mushroom-themed lunch will be served using the fruits of the morning’s labours.
We’ve also got the Wacky Wine Weekend, coming up on 2 June in Robertson, on our radars. The beautiful valley will be abuzz with tutored tastings, wine pairings, good food, music and outdoor activities. Robertson Winery will be hosting mystery dinners on both Friday and Saturday evening, so book now and share the fun. As mentioned in our previous blog, the Wacky Wine is a child-friendly experience that the whole family can enjoy.