The extent of South African red tape and restrictive legislation regarding wine 40 years ago beggars belief. While those reaching adulthood in the 90s did not have the frustrations, older readers will recall the difficulties of getting a bottle of wine to enjoy with a meal on a Sunday evening.
Those who produced wine have vivid memories of those trying days which is why the efforts of those who started the Stellenbosch Wine Route 40 years ago will be toasted in style. The late Frans Malan of Simonsig and late Niel Joubert of Spier visited the famous wine route in Burgundy in 1969 and returned home, eager to start something similar in Stellenbosch. Spatz Sperling of Delheim came on board and the trio established South Africa’s first wine route, launched in 1971
The annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival is a drawcard that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. With two significant birthdays to mark, the region is going all out to make both Stellenbosch Wine Week – which precedes the festival – and the four-day wine and food festival memorable events.
Festivities take off with a fund-raiser for Stellenbosch Child Welfare at Delheim. Bubbly fans can indulge in vertical tastings of Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel or vintage tastings of Scintilla cap classiques at the House of JC le Roux. Other highlights include a food and wine pairing and dinner with Katinka van Niekerk at Neethlingshof.
At the Paul Roos Centre, venue for the festival, celebrity chefs are offering a diverse programme that includes a pairing of Fleur du Cap wines with salts of the world by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s at Morgenster. The festival opens with a wine connoisseur evening on July 28.
l Plan your itinerary by visiting www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za or call 021 886 4310. Festival entry tickets cost from R120 a person per day for online bookings at www.webtickets.co.za or R140 at the door, or buy a Golden pass for R350, valid for all days. The festival runs from July 28-31, the Stellenbosch Wine Week from July 22-31.