by: Estelle Vosloo
The Stellenbosch Wine Festival, the flagship event of South Africas iconic wine region, stomps its way into a new era this January with an expanded ten-day program designed to showcase in a bigger, better and bolder fashion the delightfully diverse town of Stellenbosch from 25 January until 3 February 2013.
The Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes moved this annual highlight event from its previous mid-winter schedule to the new dates in order to capitalise on the unique assets and attractions this historic oak-lined town and its more than 150 wineries has to offer during the height of summer.
The new date also celebrates the birth of South African wine, thanks to this entry on 2 February 1659 in the diary of Jan van Riebeeck, official of the Dutch East India Company and First Commander of the Cape: Today, praise be to God, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes.
We realised that it makes sense to showcase our world-class wines during a period when everything that Stellenbosch offers – its natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, excellent academic institutions and vibrant agricultural industries – is at its best and brightest. Perfect summer weather, the buzz of a new University year and the bustling start of the harvest season will all add new dimensions to the Stellenbosch Wine Festival experience. Our member farms are excited, the whole town is mobilised and we are sure that wine lovers and lifestyle tourists from all over South Africa and the world are going to be thrilled with what Stellenbosch is bringing to the table this summer, says Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.
The new-look Stellenbosch Wine Festival delivers a full flight of wine experiences for both casual fans and connoisseurs, including an inaugural charity gala, a ten-day promotion at many of the areas award-winning restaurants, special cultivar evenings, and wine farm tours.
Sporting events, art exhibitions and musical concerts throughout the town during the festival will give attendees a colorful taste of the Stellenbosch lifestyle.
A festival highlight will be the Blessing of the Harvest and a Harvest Parade on Saturday, 26 January, as celebrants from Stellenbosch member farms are expected to march through the streets.
Throughout the week, enthusiasts will be able to tailor-make their own festival experience by dining in town and estate restaurants offering special food and wine pairing menus as part of the festivals Wine & Dine sensation or by visiting a myriad of farms offering unique tours and tasting programmes.
It all culminates at a three-day Wine Expo which will be located in the heart of the vibrant town and feature interactive stands and tasting programmes from over 130 wine and gourmet food producers. The Wine Expo is set to take place from 1 to 3 February on Die Braak and will take full advantage of the beautiful natural surroundings with rustic tables, green dcor and free-flowing Bedouin tents. A central stage will play host to Sundowner Concerts which are being planned to keep festival goers entertained as they enjoy the fabulous vintages on offer.
A full Festival Guide will be published by the organisers in early January and details of the entire programme will be made available on the Festival website over the coming months.
For more information, visit www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za, or phone (+27)21 886 4310.