No matter what time of year it is, when we want to celebrate, we toast with a glass of grapy goodness. Winters are rich with red wines, Port and Muscadel while summers are light and playful with an array of sparkling and white wines. One of the best places to celebrate any season is undoubtedly the Robertson Wine Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa.
With a variety of festivals centred around the grape’s journey from vine to barrel, Robertson and its surrounding towns of Ashton, Bonnieale, and McGregor uncork incredible wining and dining experiences for the entire family to enjoy all year round.
The Hands on Harvest festival takes place at the end of February each year with great events like grape picking and stomping, riverside picnics, food and wine pairings, vineyard safaris as well as blending and tasting experiences tailored to suit any taste. They also have a fix for the more adventurous with activities that include skydiving, rock climbing, and hiking.
The Whacky Wine Weekend has become a staple in the area and in the first weekend of June every year, people travel from all over for a weekend of wine estate hopping, sampling produce, meeting winemakers and getting their input in tutored tasting sessions, all in the heart of the countryside. With entertainment galore for the whole family, visitors can meander from music concerts and river cruises to food and wine pairings for kids – non-alcoholic of course, but such a brilliant idea to have the kids also enjoy the fruit of the vine and learn more about how a simple grape is transformed into a bottle of sparkling juice.
Around the first weekend in August, visitors to the valley can indulge their senses at Robertson Slow, a celebration of slow food, wine and relaxation. This is the ultimate family festival and children can enjoy old-fashioned entertainment like “kleilat gooi” and “kettie skiet” as well as tractor rides and fishing expeditions at some of the farms.
At the end of October it is time for the Wine on the River festival bringing together more than 300 wines from 42 different wineries on the banks of the Breede River. Guests can enjoy loads of fun activities for kids and grownups alike with live music, arts and crafts, wine, cheese, olive, chocolate, coffee and nougat tastings to name a few.
In this area, visitors are not only spoilt for choice when it comes to wine, food and festivals, but also when it comes to accommodation. From camping to luxury hotel accommodation, Robertson has it all. There is simply no excuse not to get onto Route 62 and visit this wine valley.
So, if your heart is yearning for a break from the norm, for lavishing in the lap of country hospitality and charm whilst enjoying top quality wines and food, check your diary and plan a weekend in the Robertson Wine Valley. Festival or not, it will be an experience that will leave you relaxed, recharged and with an album of beautiful memories and needless to say, a few bottles of wine.