HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

Ultimate Guide to the Top Food & Wine Festivals in the Western Cape in 2024

Looking for the best food and wine festivals in the Western Cape in 2024? Diarise these upcoming festivals!

Experience the best of South African food and wine at these upcoming festivals in 2024. Sample some of the country’s finest wine and freshest food, spend a thrilling weekend annerkant die berg, taste cool wines, savour heartwarming food and full-bodied reds in winter, and more. Here’s your list of the top food and wine festivals in the Western Cape in 2024.

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#HappyBirthdaySAWine: Harvest Festivals & Parties in celebration of South African wine

As the only wine-producing country in the world that can pinpoint the exact start of our industry, we’re excited to celebrate the birthday of South African wine on 2 February 2024! “Today, praise be to God, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes,” Jan van Riebeeck wrote in his diary on 2 February 1659.

A birthday well worth celebrating, the wine industry annually hosts birthday parties and harvest festivals around this time. Here’s a roundup of exciting events to attend in honour of #HappyBirthdaySAWine.

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Great experiences to learn about South African brandy

Brandy-making in South Africa goes back three hundred years, but its story certainly isn’t stuck in the history books. A good and enjoyable way to learn about this cultural icon, and discover why it consistently wins global competitions, is available at several, top-class brandy experiences.

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The Journey of a Grape

The journey from vine to glass is a matter of science and circumstance. There are a wide number of species of vines which bears a variety of grapes, known as varietals. For instance, the Chardonnay grape is green and produces white or ‘blanc’, Chardonnay wine. Each varietal, affected by soil type, climate, wind, farming practices and other factors, produces various characteristics. In South Africa, it is not legal to add flavourants. As such, when Chardonnay is said to exhibit vanilla, for instance, certain winemaking processes might exhibit that character. For example, aging, or maturing wine in wood can produce certain tastes and smells.

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South African vocabulary for wine tourists

New research suggests that language influences how we perceive the world. So in order to better understand us and our sometimes strange ways, here are some uniquely South African words to help you navigate our winelands and our wine culture.

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The story of Tesselaarsdal Wines

The hamlet of Tesselaarsdal is in the Overberg, about midway between Caledon and Stanford. It’s 135km from Cape Town and after tracking the N2, can be reached via a network of country roads through sprawling farmlands. The wine company named after the settlement is owned by Berene Sauls who was raised there, and its wines are made in the Hemel en Aarde Valley winery of Hamilton Russell. The grapes are from Hemel en Aarde too.

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How to be a South African wine connoisseur

Do you want to learn a bit more about wine this year to talk the talk in the tasting room?

Here are 20 facts every lover of South African wine should know. Armed with this checklist you’ll bluff anyone into believing you are an authority.

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Turnkey project to make Cape wine even more visitor-friendly

South Africa’s winelands have always professed to welcome all. An initiative focused on language rather than tourism or wine, however, promises to take this hospitality and the wine industry in general to new heights.

A series of workshops with mother-tongue speakers of Shona, Zulu and Xhosa that lay the groundwork to make wine appreciation more widely accessible, has just been concluded. Led by the South African Chenin Blanc Association, a sector interest group, and several industry stakeholders, the project involves a re-interpretation of traditional wine descriptions.

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BLACC wine-lovers help spread the word

The Black Cellar Club (BLACC) is a young organisation with a mission to share the story of South African wine.

The Cape’s wine farms are best known for being the intersect of tourism and the business of wine. They also are essential for education and training, as the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) has shown since its establishment in 2016.

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From Vine to Glass: South African Wine & Traceability

In the Middle Ages wax seals were used to authenticate documents. South Africa’s own sustainability wine seal does a similar job. The seal guarantees that the information on the bottle label about the variety, vintage and origin of the wine is accurate and that the wine has been grown and made in an environmentally friendly way. To date, South Africa is the only country in the world with such an all-encompassing guarantee.

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Women have staked their claim in wine

National Women’s Day commemorates the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria of 20 000 women on August 9, 1956 to petition against Apartheid pass book legislation. The march was led by Albertina Sisulu, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams.

It changed South Africa and demonstrated the power of women in a society dominated by male voices in authority. Many of these ripples are still felt across society, including winemaking.

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South African Chenin Blanc at a glance

Several prominent events are about to put South African Chenin Blanc back in the spotlight. Clifford Roberts gives a brief rundown of the excitement driving the variety.

If there’s a Ground Zero for South African wine, it must be chenin blanc. Few varieties have tracked our history from the start, become as ubiquitous and emerged as a shining light.

The significance of looking at it now? June 17 is #DrinkChenin Day.

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Lessons from my winemaker father

Agriculture and activities like the making of wine is often a family affair, as the stories of many of South Africa’s winemakers reflect. Marking Father’s Day this month, Maryke Roberts asked some of them to be re-told.

Father’s Day is said to have its origins in America, where it has been celebrated for the past 108 years.

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Must-know love stories of the Cape winelands

Everywhere, the world is re-discovering The Beatles wisdom that “all you need is love, love is all you need”.

This transformation amid tragedy that sees us draw loved ones closer may even conceivably consign the traditional day or month of love to the history books.

Nonetheless, it’s worth reflecting on a few of the many wineland love stories because after all, wine will continue to be love’s most faithful companion.

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Celebrate Pinotage – our home grown grape varietal!

If you come to South Africa, you should certainly celebrate your visit with a glass of Pinotage, our very own wine, “born” in South Africa over 80 years ago. Pinotage was developed by Abraham Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. He crossed the delicious Pinot Noir grape with the Cinsaut variety in an experiment designed to increase its yield and disease resistance.

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14 Local places to go for April 17’s Malbec fiesta

The world celebrates the Malbec grape on April 17, the 12th occasion it has done so since the special day was inaugurated.

The point was initially to promote the Argentinian excellence with a variety that originated in south-west France but has become a star for the South Americans. It has subsequently become an opportunity across the world to cast light on the variety itself.

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Local is lekker! Traditional South African Food

Like every cosmopolitan city in the world, Cape Town offers a wide array of restaurants – French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Mexican and more. However, our best restaurants are invariably those that celebrate what the Cape uniquely offers- our proximity to both sea and farmlands, which means the freshest of produce, and cooking traditions that are based on the use of spices, cooking with fire, pickling and preserving.

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A Taste of SA Heritage: Mosbolletjies with Babylonstoren

Mosbolletjies are a quintessential South African treat. Traditionally made with grape must (fermented grape juice) following the annual wine press, the sweet scent of mosbolletjies filling the air is a welcome announcement that the first grapes of “parstyd” in the Winelands are harvested. They’re soft, sweet and incredibly hard to resist! ⁠

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Tannie Evita’s Koeksister Recipe

One can hardly mention Darling without mentioning Evita Bezuidenhout, or Tannie Evita as she is affectionately known by South Africans. The former stateswoman owns the local railway station and has a whole boulevard in the quaint town named after her.

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