The 2014 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay will be a feast for the whole family. The ten-day wine and food extravaganza will delight food and wine lovers with loads of exceptional culinary experiences, wine tastings and exciting outdoor activities.
The jam-packed festival line-up offers a wide variety of winery experiences ranging from picnics to pairings, game drives to grape stomping, high teas to golf, open air movies and gala dinners to superb gourmet pairings. Many of the wineries have included specific child-friendly activities to keep the younger crowd entertained.
According to Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes, visitors can expect truly unique events as part of the American Express Winery Experiences. “Our members have pulled out all the stops to present visitors with an exciting overview of Stellenbosch as the country’s gourmet capital. These events present a virtual snapshot of our local food and wine industry with a proudly South African flavour. Whether you’re a serious wine enthusiast or looking for casual family outings, the festival will definitely fit the bill this year,” mentions Bolton.
One of the highlights of the festival will undoubtedly be the Longridge gala dinner, which will be hosted in the historic streets of Stellenbosch on Wednesday, January 29. Plein Street in front of the town hall will be transformed into an elegant open-air dinner venue for a fantastic 5-course meal paired with the finest Longridge wines and accompanied by live music.
Another fine dining experience not to be missed is the five-course wine and food pairing presented at Towerbosch restaurant, recently named one of the top ten restaurants in the country. Knorhoek has collaborated with neighbouring wineries from the Simonsberg region Quoin Rock, Muratie and Delheim to host this spectacular gourmet offering on Thursday, January 30.
Don’t miss the unique DeZine Dine Cultivar Showcase at Blaauwklippen, renowned producer of Zinfandel. Guests can choose between four sumptuous starters and delicious desserts and then design their own main course plate from a special chef’s selection featuring a protein, two types of vegetables, a starch and any sauce to create a magnificent menu paired with the guest’s own pick from the Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Trio.
Visitors will be able to enjoy a true African safari experience at several wineries to explore the incredible natural beauty of the Stellenbosch region. Take a tour through the vineyards of Jordan in a safari-style vehicle and savour the incredible views and prolific fauna and flora before enjoying a special tour and tasting in the barrel cellar. Villiera’s 220-hectare wildlife sanctuary offers a glimpse of hundreds of antelope as well as giraffe, black wildebeest, bush pigs and Burchell’s Zebra before a wine tasting.
Friday, January 31, is movie night at Blaauwklippen and movie buffs can enjoy a classic drive-in experience, ideally suited for families with kids. The new version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ will be screened on the big screen set in the midst of the estate’s historic buildings. Popcorn and candy floss as well as other yummy snacks will be available.
Mother Nature will definitely be flaunting her summer finery and a host of wineries have opted to include more relaxed, family-friendly picnic style activities. Lanzerac Deli will serve delectable platters in their picnic area, while Kleine Zalze offers a romantic picnic under the stars and oak trees with wine and live background music.
Stellenzicht will present a live sunset concert on their sprawling lawns on January 31. Visitors can bring their own picnic baskets or use the available braai facilities, while wines can be purchased from the wine shop.
For the ultimate summer indulgence, visit Ken Forrester Wines for a glass of the Chenin king’s maiden vintage Sparklehorse bubbly and strawberries. A cheese platter is also available. Fantastic family fun is on the cards at Middelvlei, Delheim and Audacia. Enjoy the special Middelvlei boerebraai tapas paired with great wines, while the kids can have a real farm experience feeding the animals and going for a tractor ride through the vineyards.
Delheim will host their annual harvest celebration on January25 and 26 with a buffet-style picnic lunch, live music, a grape stomping competition and supervised activities for the kids.
Red wine boutique winery Audacia will present an incredible fresh produce market with loads of products, wines, craft beer and live music.
Kanonkop will offer another South African treat with a delicious snoekbraai with a 10-year vertical tasting of their multiple award-winning Paul Sauer blend.
Put South African wines to the test against their New World counterparts during the Tri-Nations Tasting at Haskell Vineyards. Haskell and Dombeya wines will go up against wines from Australia and New Zealand. Enjoy a cheese platter and cellar tour. Elegance is the key at Muratie with a special high tea featuring their fine wines and delicate petit fours on Tuesday, January 28. Savour the awesome setting of Waterford with bubbly on arrival, a cellar tour, game-style drive through the vineyards and a light picnic-style lunch served with their estate wines on the sprawling terrace. Meet the winemaker at Morgenhof for an elegant 4-course menu paired with estate wines served in the beautifully restored manor house.
Winemaker Louis Strydom of Ernie Els Wines will be presenting an intimate parallel tasting of his superlative Stellenbosch 2009 vintages and the current 2011 releases. The tasting will be conducted in the Ernie Els Trophy Room and canapés will accompany the tasting.
Avontuur combines grapes and gallops with an exceptional vineyard and stable experience. Meet the estate’s thoroughbred champion stallions before tantalising the taste buds with a “Tease your taste buds” wine tasting and cellar tour.
* Visit www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za for the full festival schedule and more details on the American Express Winery Experiences and American Express Wine and Dine restaurant promotions.