From bow ties to braaibroodjies, Wine Town Stellenbosch is an all-new de-centralised wine festival that brings you the best of the City of Oaks over five days, from Wednesday 3 November to Sunday 7 November.
In the blend of this local wine and food showcase are a series of events to take place at venues around the town of Stellenbosch and at participating wine farms. Specials on overnight stays will encourage visitors to overnight and enjoy the full experience.
Bringing even bigger vibe, Wine Town Stellenbosch overlaps with the town’s popular Street Soiree events, scheduled for Wednesday 27 October, 10 November, 24 November and 8 December.
“We’re extremely excited about Wine Town Stellenbosch,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager Elmarie Rabe. “As the inaugural show, it’s an exploded version of our traditional wine festival and would have taken place in August, but lockdown restrictions put paid to it for that month. With restrictions now at Level 1, everyone’s back and raring to go.”
Nonetheless, de-centralising the festival means that safety remains a priority. “For this reason, seats are very limited where events require booking, so early booking is advised,” says Elmarie.
Events are also guaranteed to be popular as they’ve been designed to showcase precisely what Stellenbosch and its wine is all about. Among the highlights is a tasting of local wines over five decades. Stellenbosch Wine Routes celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and the event will lay out its evolution with a tasting of wines from the 1970s to the present day.
Another great occasion is to be hosted by the region’s Cabernet Collective. Stellenbosch is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon and a selection will be available at a sunset walk-around tasting of current and older vintage wines, presented by over 20 producers. The Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective presents ‘Cabernet through the Ages’at the newly renovated visitor centre of Ernie Els Wines and is a unique opportunity to compare rare older vintages seldom offered to the public – a must for all Cab enthusiasts.
Wine-lovers will also get to experience wines from South Africa’s elder vineyards, thanks to the Old Vine Project (OVP). A masterclass will present a comparative tasting of old vine Chenin blanc from various regions, followed by lunch prepared by Chef Craig Cormack.
The OVP will also host a walk-around tasting during the festival, featuring the wines of its Stellenbosch members.
Another of South Africa’s champion grape varieties comes under the spotlight at a dinner entitled Celebrate Chenin Blanc, to be hosted by Chenin Blanc Association vice chair and wine supremo Jeff Grier, with special guest wine authority Michael Fridjhon. The dinner features a four-course meal composed by Chef George Jardine.
There will be a special dinner too, relating to Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ anniversary milestone. Farms instrumental in what was the country’s first tourist-orientated wine meander will be front-and-centre at Bertus Basson’s Eike restaurant. Relatives and colleagues of the original founders from Simonsig, Spier and Delheim will share stories alongside a three-course meal and wines.
To celebrate the golden 50-year anniversary of Cap Classique, the Cap Classique Producers Association and Simonsig Estate join forces to present an informal walk-around tasting on the lawns of the winery. Some 20 producers will present over 50 wines. There will be music and food trucks too.
More fun can be expected at the tasting entitled Big Bottles, Bowties and Braaibroodjies. On offer will be samples from magnums (1,5-litre) and larger bottle formats. A light-hearted spin to the distinctly informal event requires visitors to wear a bowtie, even if attending in a pair of shorts.
Top local chefs will grill their versions of the inimitably South African toasted sandwich, while a selection of well-known and lesser-known producers will showcase their wines.
Additional events on farms during Wine Town Stellenbosch include:
• First Sundays live music at Neethlingshof;
• Wine Down in Wine Town at Muratie;
• Skilpadvlei Oppieplaas, a walk-around tasting event;
• Lanzerac Oppieplaas, a mini festival of Pinotage;
• A picnic-style Sunday braai at Spier; and,
• A winemakers’ lunch at Waterford Wines, hosted by the Upper Blaauwklippen Collective.