It’s that time of the year. Beautiful ripe grapes, bursting with the juice that will eventually become our favourite wines, are being plucked from the vine, stomped on, and decanted in tanks for future vintages. In celebration of this miracle of viticulture, many wine estates are inviting you to squash grapes between your toes, taste this year’s wines, enjoy farm-style picnics, ride tractors and ponies, and generally have a great time with family or friends. To help you decide where to go this year, we’ve compiled a list of harvest festivals in the Cape Winelands.
Riesling Rocks – Saturday 9 February
Make your way to Hartenberg Wine Estate for the Riesling Rocks festival in the Stellenbosch Winelands on Saturday 9 February 2013 where you can enjoy fine Rieslings paired with deli-style food.
Details: Hartenberg Estate, Stellenbosch from 12 noon until 5pm. R180 per person includes a wine glass. Tickets available from Hartenberg Estate or online at www.webtickets.co.za. www.hartenbergestate.com
Grande Provence Harvest Festival – Saturday 23 February
This harvest festival includes a tractor ride to the vineyard for grape picking, a wine cellar tour and tasting, followed by grape stomping in the barrels and a braai, accompanied by live music, under the oak tree.
Details: Grand Provence Estate, Franschhoek, from 9am. R295 per adult; R130 per child under 12. (Special rates for groups of 10 or more.) Include bottle of Angel’s Tears wine per adult. www.grandeprovence.co.za
The Harvest at Nederburg – Saturday 23 February
Nederburg’s annual harvest and feast at dusk includes grape picking and stomping, followed by a braai under the Paarl skies. Live music will be played from the stoep of the manor house. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the event.
Details: Nederberg Wine Estate, Paarl, 6.30pm for 7pm until late.?R250 per person; R100 per scholar aged 12 to 18; and R50 per child under 12. The ticket includes juices, mineral water, mezze platters and braai. www.nederburg.com/theredtable
Muratie Harvest Festival – Saturday 23 February
This annual open day features food, wine, live music and grape stomping. From 2.30pm prepare to be rocked by music and comedy by The Rites. Food such as hamburgers and cheese platters will be on sale, as well as Muratie wine by the glass and bottle and cold drinks.
Details: Muratie Wine Farm, Stellenbosch, at 11.30am. Entrance is free and includes a complimentary glass of wine. A vertical wine tasting for 20 people will be on offer at 12 noon for R50 per head. http://www.muratie.co.za/
Robertson Wine Valley Hands-on Harvest – Friday 22 February – Sunday 24 February
Enjoy activities like harvesting and stomping on grapes; a breakfast boat trip on the Breede River; a wine-tasting trail on horseback or by horse-and-cart; a harvest lunch or dinner with bubbly; a market; and a spit-braai.
Details: All bookings are to be made directly with participating wineries by 20 February 2013. www.handsonharvest.com
Constantia Fresh Festival – Friday 1 March and Saturday 2 March
At this year’s festival wine producers show not only their sauvignon blancs, as in previous years, but all their wines that exhibit ‘freshness’. Friday’s five-course degustation menu (R1500 per person), paired with 16 wines, will be prepared by and chef Peter Tempelhoff from The Greenhouse (Restaurant of the Year in 2011). Saturday’s braai at Buitenverwachting with wine and canapés is R400 per person.
Details: Participating wine farms in Constantia. Buy tickets at participating local and regional wine farms or from www.webtickets.co.za. http://www.constantiafresh.com/home.htm
Feast of the Grape – Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March
All the wineries in the Durbanville are joining to celebrate the harvest at the Durbanville Race Course. Taste limited-release wines and find out how the unique terroir imparts structure and flavour to wines. The festival promises food from local restaurants, grape stomping, cow milking and loads of entertainment for the kids.
Details: Durbanville Race Course. R100 for adults and R50 for children, which includes access to the venue, as well as a complimentary tasting glass and coupons. http://www.durbanvillewine.co.za
Eikendal Weintaufe Harvest Celebrations – Sunday 3 March
This family-friendly celebration will offer wines, country-style fare and entertainment. Taste the first wine of the 2013 harvest straight from the barrel and enjoy live music, craft stalls, lucky draws, vineyard tractor rides, fly fishing, barrel stomping, pony rides and activities for the kids.
Details: Eikendal Estate, Somerser West, from 10am. R60 per person includes a complimentary glass and barrel tasting of the 2013 Chardonnay at noon. Free for children under 12. Tickets available at the gate. email@example.com
Ommiberg Festival at Nederburg – Saturday 9 March
The annual Paarl Ommiberg Round the Rock Wine Festival will be held in the Paarl Winelands at participating wineries on 9 March 2013. At Nederburg your ticket entitles you to a free tasting of young wines straight from the tank or barrel, and an oven-fresh onion tartlet. There will be food and beverage stalls, a grape-stomping challenge (2pm to 5pm), and kids’ entertainment.
Details: Nederburg Estate from 10am to 6pm. R100 for an adult access card, which includes tasting glass and programme. (R80 at Computicket.) Free for children under 18. firstname.lastname@example.org
Overgaauw Harvest Festival – Saturday 16 March
Make your way to Overgaauw’s homestead garden for a fun-filled celebration of the harvest, including live music and entertainment for the kids. There will be a jumping castle, slippery slide, live music and grape stomping.
Details: Overgaauw Estate, Stellenbosch, from 11.30am to 5pm.?R150 per person includes a bottle of wine, gourmet hotdog and chips, something sweet, and live music all day. www.overgaauw.co.za
Bot River Barrels and Beards – Saturday 20 April
Each year the colourful wine community follows a tradition of no shaving for the duration of the harvest season. Judges and guests will vote for the boldest beard and taste the 2013 cellar offerings straight from the barrels. The evening includes a ‘terroir to table’ potjiekos dinner with wine for sale.
Details: The Old Shed at Anysbos Farm on the Swartrivier Road from 5pm. R250 per person includes a complimentary barrel tasting, a souvenir wine glass, dinner and live music. No children under 12. email@example.com
Franschhoek Oesfees – Saturday 23 March
Mango Groove, Emo Adams and Die Heuwels Fantasties are some of the headlining acts of this year’s event, which offers food, wine and loads of live music at Solms-Delta wine estate. There will be Kaapsekos favourites and a circus carnival kiddies’ area for children under 12. Details: Soms-Delta, near Franschhoek. R120 per person if pre-booked at the farm or online from www.ticketbreak.co.za or on Facebook.com/solmsdelta; R140 at the gate; R20 for children under 12. www.solms-delta.co.za
For more information on these events and others, visit our events page.
Have we forgotten your favourite harvest festival? Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographs: Eikendal, Eikendal, Eikendal, Ommiberg at Nederburg, Harvest at Nederburg, Ommiberg, Bot River Barrels and Beards, Harvest at Nederburg.