Put your oenophile taste buds to the test at some of these fabulous upcoming wine festivals in South Africa. Anybody who knows their wine will tell you that South Africa is home to some of the best vineyards in the world. Wine-making is a popular industry in the western part of the country and is shipped world-wide, shelved next to bottles from Napa and Bordeaux. While you can grab a bottle of South African vino at your local grocery store, we strongly encourage you to get the overall experience by heading to its stomping grounds (although technology has advanced beyond grape stomping) in the winelands of Western Cape.
To start off, visit Cape Town, the most popular city known for showcasing the wine in the region. Cape Town has plenty of popular festivals and events that centers around its local drinks such as the V&A Waterfront Wine Affair (May), where up to 75 nearby wine estates show off their best flavors. Or if you’re in town during late May, visit Cape Town International Convention Centre for its Good Food & Wine Show, a place to sample wine paired with gourmet meals served by some of the area’s top notch restaurants. For serious wine drinkers, check out Trophy Wine Show, where local wineries compete for the best flavor. Guests will partake in the wine tasting and watch panels of expert wine critics judge and select the best drinks. Winners will, of course, receive trophies to mark their victories.
Some wine lovers prefer to go to the actual vineyards to see where the very same grapes they’re drinking are being harvested. For that, guests may want to consider the Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson Wine Valley (June). Throughout the event, wine lovers will be invited to several wine tastings to sample drinks from over 45 regional wineries. But the fun doesn’t end there. The event lives up to its name due to its fun and not your-run-of-the-mill activities including Italian pole climbing, biking through the vineyards, live entertainment and more. Arts and craft vendors will be selling their best goods as well for guests to browse through in between wine tasting. Or visit Paarl for the annual Pinotage & Biltong Festival (April) where guests can sample true South African snacks with the signature Merlot and of course, Pinot Noir from Perdeberg Winery.
When you’re in the Western Cape region, anything that’s related to a festival is almost a guaranteed to be an unofficial wine tasting event, too. You’ll find this sentiment rings true when you head over to the South African Cheese Festival in Stellenbosch, where cheese sampling cannot be done without a glass of vino in hand. Because of this, attendees will find dozens of wine vendors at the event showcasing their newest flavors. This is the perfect opportunity to combine your two loves; cheese and wine. Other unofficial wine events to look out for include Christmas in Winter (June), Swartland Heritage Festival (November) and Stellenbosch Street Soiree.
You don’t have to stay in the Western Cape region to sample the best. You’ll find plenty of wine festivals in other major cities like Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth. For example, WineX (October) in Johannesburg is one of the biggest wine festivals in the country where up to 10,000 wine lovers attend over the course of two days. Over 150 wine vendors from big brand names to small, independent wine farms gather to give out samples of their innovate vino flavors. Durban’s Mercury Wine Week (August) is a week-long event where proceeds go towards local charities so wine lovers can sip on their vino knowing they’re contributing to a good cause. Champagne lovers, you’ll want to visit the Joburg Bubbly Festival to sample a wide variety of nothing but the best prosecco and champagne. Or bring your appetite to Pretoria to the Fijnwyn Food & Wine Festival (April), a popular event loaded with gourmet meals to marry perfectly with your drink. Live music will be played as wine lovers visit vendors to sample snacks and drink. Attendees will also be able to interact with the local growers to learn the art that goes into making South Africa’s favorite drink.
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