Get ahead of your busy schedule and diarize 2018’s remaining food and wine festivals in the Cape winelands now. From large, family friendly shows to intimate, black-tie affairs – there’s plenty to get excited about.
Plus, you might even want to make a weekend of it too. Here’s a quick guide to what not to miss between now and December, and how to get more information where you need it.
28-29 April: Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival (1hr ex Cape Town)
A cool climate is often essential to making some great wines. At this festival, wineries of the green and hilly Elgin show why. The harvest has come to an end, the vineyards are decked in their autumn finery and just as the first vestiges of winter can be felt in the crisp air, the Elgin Wine valley opens its doors to visitors. Each participating winery offers its own programme, allowing you to tailor-make your experience for tastings of excellent food and wines at magnificent properties.
19 May: Nuy Valley Festival (1,5hr ex Cape Town)
The Nuy Valley is among the least well-known areas of the Cape winelands so has preserved a special country charm. The festival is hosted by Nuy Wine Cellar, Willow Creek Olive Estate, Conradie Family Vineyards and Leipzig Country House. It includes activities including mountain biking, a fun walk and vineyards trail-run, wine tasting, olive oil tasting, vineyard trails, tractor and wagon rides and fun activities for children. There’s live music and a farm-and-craft market.
26 May: Vintage & Vine Fair (Tulbagh; 1,5hr ex Cape Town)
Tulbagh has a rare collection of Cape Dutch architecture. Its rich history and location amongst mountains and fields make it a must-visit. The Fair is a celebration of the region’s wines, olives and handmade products. Visitors get to meet the winemakers and other team members who see the wine from vine to bottle. There’s family-friendly entertainment and music too.
31 May-3 June: Wacky Wine Weekend (Robertson; 2hr ex Cape Town)
This well-established lifestyle event has become an institution for connoisseurs and novices alike. The offering this year includes produce from over thirty-five wineries and tourism establishments in the region of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson. Participating wineries open their doors to showcase the finest vintages. There are tours, pairings and interactive tastings by winemakers. Live music, food stalls with hearty country cuisine and fun activities for children complete the experience.
15-17 June: Calitzdorp Winter Festival (4hrs ex Cape Town)
Calitzdorp is among of the Klein Karoo’s most charming hamlets and a worthy weekend getaway. Winter is a most pleasant season to visit the arid region. Although known as the Port wine capital of South Africa, this festival showcases the other superb still wines made here and particularly those from Portuguese varieties. There’s a line-up of tastings, entertainment and activities for both young and old.
14 - 15 July: Franschhoek Bastille Festival (1hr ex Cape Town)
While Franschhoek town is decked out in the traditional bleu, blanc and rouge of the French flag as a reflection of its heritage, a food-and-wine marquee is set against the backdrop of the historic Huguenot Monument and surrounding mountains. There’s ample parking that allows for a short walk between the village and festival venue. Sample the Franschhoek wines while gourmet fare is available for purchase from some of Franschhoek’s renowned eateries.
20-21 July: Soetes & Soup (Breedekloof; 1,5hr ex Cape Town)
Hosted at the various wineries around Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini, and Breede River, visitors can enjoy complimentary cups of homemade country soup accompanied by a glass of red or dessert wine. With the focus on family-friendly environment, Soetes & Soup is an entertaining showcase of the Breedekloof’s finest wines and hospitality.
3-5 August: Robertson Slow Food & Wine (Robertson; 2hr ex Cape Town)
Wineries and tourism businesses participate in this event that highlights intimate, winter-focused experiences involving food and wine. Warm up in front of the fireplace with red wines and indulge your taste buds with hearty country cuisine using local produce. Indulge in diverse food traditions from vetkoek and waterblommetjie stew to seafood paella, duck and game. Experiences range from fine dining to farmyard picnics.
15-16 September: Franschhoek Uncorked (1hr ex Cape Town)
Sample wines as you travel from farm to farm throughout the weekend. Among them are new release wines that may include summer-inspired rosés or lighter-styled reds, whilst the gems are anyone’s guess. The festival is the perfect opportunity to stock up for the upcoming festive season.
24 September: Klawer Kole (3hr ex Cape Town)
A celebration of the tradition of the braai and heritage, the festival allows Klawer to promote its fire-cooking prowess as well as local wine and music. Braai teams go head-to-head with their cooking techniques. Local chefs will be judging each dish. If you don’t want to compete, bring your family for a picnic in a wonderful atmosphere. A major wine-producing region, Namaqua West Coast is ideal for a weekend away too.
13 October: Worcester Wine and Olive Festival (1,5hr ex Cape Town)
Participating wineries host tastings and various food-and-wine activities that show the region’s excellence in the production of amongst others, wine and olives. There’s live music, trail run events and activities for children.
26-28 October: Wine on the River (Robertson; 2hr ex Cape Town)
Celebrate the valley in Spring on the banks of the Breede River at Goudmyn Farm. Stalls for food and wine are the main attraction, as well as interactions with local winemakers, chefs and producers. Some 30 wineries participate. Great music and a shady picnic area along the river bank complete the experience.
1-2 December: The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival (1hr ex Cape Town)
Get all dressed up for what many regard as the social calendar event of 2018. Sip on some of SA’s finest Méthode Cap Classiques (MCC) and imported bubblies from France. A grand marquee always oozes with style, elegance and sophistication at the event offering the opportunity to mingle with local MCC producers and a handful of international brands.
Learn more about what’s on in South Africa’s vine country – visit our guide to everything big and small, at What’s On.