Stellenbosch Wine Festival 2017
The Stellenbosch Wine Festival recently occurred the last weekend in February (24-26). Luckily, we were able to go and I am so glad we did! Max went to this festival in 2013 with his parents right when he moved here. He had high expectations for it this year and it did not disappoint.
It must have gotten popular in recent years because this was a huge production! Max says that it is much more organised than in 2013. It was in a different and bigger location. The layout was thought out and flowed well. Although it got busy, it never felt like it was crowded. There were a lot of activities to keep yourself busy- as if wine tastings weren’t enough- and they are listed below!
Activities at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival
Included in your ticket price (R190) are unlimited wine tastings with a free wine glass! There are no amount of tasting tickets, which really opens up the day to experience as much wine as possible. All of the vineyards do pour the appropriate amount of wine for tastings though as it is demarcated on the glasses. All of the vineyards also had full wine bottles for sale of all sample wines.
There was a huge stage this year with fantastic music playing. It was all local performers that blended into the day seamlessly. If you were interested in the music, there was plenty of (lawn) space to picnic and relax. If you were not interested in the music, it did not distract from the day. It was the perfect chill music that was not too loud. I wish I had brought my violin to the festival- I would have tried to join some of the groups!
There was amazing food for purchase this year. Some highlights included pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, ice cream, among other things. All food items reasonably priced considering this was a festival! All of the food venders were local which is a great
Wine tastings with food pairings
The food choices were great, but they don’t necessarily go with wine tastings. There is a separate tent/building dedicated to the art of food and wine pairings. For an extra R75, you can have several tastings!
This has been one of my perfect date ideas since I saw the Infamous Grape Lady video. To my luck there were two wine barrels full of grapes to be stomped! This was open to everyone the whole day- which meant this was not going to be grape juice that would be used for wine, it was just for fun! It is the small activities like this that set this festival apart from others.
Drinks (other than wine)
There was one bar at the festival that served other alcoholic beverages besides wine. These drinks were not included in your ticket price, but were available for purchase. After awhile, wine might make some people bored so this was a great alternative! People still got to enjoy the beautiful day and the other activities!
Though I would not initially think that bringing children to a wine festival is a good idea- it seemed to be a popular idea! There was a great kids’ play area that included a lot of giant inflatable/soft toys that created a playground. At the children’s area, there were monitors to watch your kids for the parents while they were tasting wines. It was a gorgeous day and children enjoyed the large play space. Many children also enjoyed the music as I saw them playing in the lawn in front of the stage!
Our experience at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival
Our overall experience at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival (presented by Pick N Pay) was great. We started the morning off at the Slow Market for brunch beforehand and made our way over the festival grounds. The weather was perfect- a mixture of sunshine, a great temperature, and a cool breeze. Everything was organised and well planned. There were enough activities to keep everyone entertained and we even went with a group of 13 people! Food was wonderful and drinks were aplenty.
Our favourite vineyard/wine of the day was Simonsog’s sparkling wine. It was top 5 wines I have ever tasted. I kept finding myself going back to that booth!
I think my only suggestions for next year would be to increase the number of bathrooms available. This is a festival that surrounds drinking, so the number of stalls needs to reflect that. Per usual, the men’s line was non existent while the women’s line was over a 30 minute queue at one point! Portionately distribute toilets!
It should also be noted that this was the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, which did not include any other surrounding winelands. There were no vineyards from Paarl, Malmesbury, or Franshoek. I normally lump vineyards into just Stellenbosch as a whole, but there is a distinct difference!
We will be going back to the festival next year!