For three months in the year, the Cape Winelands come to life. The farms are filled with pickers, the cellars are buzzing with activity and the winemakers are hard at work crafting world-class wines. The best part of it all? You’re invited to join in on the fun.
Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Elgin, the Overberg – these are just some of the areas that will be hosting numerous events centred on harvest time over the next few months, and we’ve chosen our top of the crops for you to visit.
1. Lourensford Hanepoot Harvest
Head on over to Lourensford in Somerset West and get you grape picking on with the annual #HanepootHarvest. You get to roam the vineyards hand picking your Hanepoot grapes to take home. Bring a container and scissors for easy picking. The best part, you’ll only pay R15 per kg of grapes you pick. After some time in the fields, you can kick back and relax at the Lourensford Market where you can purchase delicious food and Lourensford wine to enjoy.
When Satuday 18 Febraury – Sunday 19 February 2017 at 7 am – 2 pm
Where Lourensford Wine Estate, Lourensford Ave, Somerset West
Cost R15 per kg of grapes
Contact +27 21 847 2333, [email protected], lourensford.co.za
2 Nederburg’s Harvest at Dusk Festival
The Harvest at Dusk festival lets you wander the vineyard at the golden hour. Things kick off with a glass of Nederberg Cuvée Brut and a surprise snack. As the sun sets, you get to pick some grapes and taste one or two before it becomes wine. Then relax and enjoy some live music by Ottoman Slap. There’ll also be a delicious harvest feast consisting of three courses. Your ticket buys you sparkling wine, the harvest experience, feast and a service charge. Bookings are essential.
3 Longridge Langtafel
Longridge Wines is honouring the harvest with a fabulous dining experience – a grand, long table set in the organic gardens of the Longridge wine estate. In addition to celebrating the harvest, the estate will also be celebrating their 175th anniversary. Enjoy five courses of fine food on a candle-lit table beneath the stars. Dishes include Pinot Noir-seared venison, three-colours cured local fish, an eight- hour-long roasted organic aged sirloin and decadent dark chocolate terrine. This delectable evening promises a dining experience of the finer things in life.
4 Grande Provence Harvest Festival
The folks at Grande Provence have planned a day that will get you into the harvest spirit. Located in the stunning Franschhoek Valley, the day begins at 8 am with coffee and freshly baked farm-style muffins followed by a tractor ride. Next, guests will head to the vineyards to get their hands (and feet) dirty with picking and stomping grapes. There’s also a wine- and grape-tasting followed by a harvest table lunch to live music. Luxury accommodation is available on the estate if you’re planning to turn your trip into a weekend getaway. Bookings are essential.
When Saturday 25 February at 8 am
Where Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate, Main Road, Franschhoek
Cost R350 for children, R695 for adults
Contact +27 21 876 8600, [email protected], grandeprovence.co.za
5 OmmiBerg Round the Rock Festival
Experience the Paarl Wine Route with the exciting OmmiBerg Round the Rock Festival, which takes visitors to the beaten track where you get to sample some of the best wines in the region. Festival-goers are in for a treat with a tour that includes small boutique cellars to iconic wine producers. OmmiBerg also pays homage to this season’s young wines and wine lovers will be able to taste these unfiltered wines straight from the barrel. Participating wineries will have an array of activities planned as part of the festival and you can hop between them as you choose. Your ticket includes entry to each of the nine venues, a tasting glass and a young wine tasting. To see the complete programme for the festival and participating wineries, click here.
6 Weintaufe Harvest Carnival
Eikendal Vineyards like to end things off with a bang – with the annual Weintaufe Harvest Carnival. The Eikendal Weintaufe has become a summertime tradition in Stellenbosch and promises fun for the young and old alike. Each year, the estate showcases the best varietals in their range and in 2017, it’s all about Chardonnay. You can sample their 2017 Chardonnay straight from the barrel after the official christening. There’ll also be grape stomping, golfing action and plenty of entertainment for the little ones. Tickets include a free glass and tasting from the barrel plus all the entertainment on the day. Children under 18 get in for free.
7 ATKV Oesfees at Solms Delta
While we enjoy harvest time, hundreds of people spend hours upon hours working hard in the heat to ensure the winemakers have all they need to make the wine we enjoy. The ATKV Oesfees celebrates the workers from the Franschhoek Valley with a huge festival after harvest time – and you’re invited to join the celebrations that include music, food, wine and culture. Homegrown musicians and popular South African artists come together to celebrate Afrikaans music. Part of the festival is the Music van de Caab project that seeks to preserve and develop the diverse musical heritage of the rural Cape, including the fostering of local musical talent. There’s no better way to bring the harvest season to a close.
8 Cluver Family Harvest Day
Where better to treat the family to harvest time fun than on a family farm? Paul Cluver Wines, found in the heart of the Elgin Wine Valley, is hosting a family harvest day in April. The kids can enjoy old-school farm fun such as tug of war, balloon catching and musical statues all within a supervised area. While the kids play, moms and dads can kick back, relax and sample some cider and wines. There’ll also be artisanal gourmet food on offer to round things off. Not ready for the long drive? Paul Cluver Wines recommend you take the train, which will depart from Cape Town station at 9 am. Your ticket includes a tasting glass and booklet of coupons for tastings while kiddies get a harvest party pack. Booking is essential.
When Saturday 1 April 11 am – 4 pm
Where Paul Cluver Wines, De Rust Estate, Kromco, N2, Grabouw
Cost R100 – R550 at Webtickets
Contact +27 21 874 3937, [email protected], oesfees.co.za
Photography Courtesy images