Stomp your way through the 2013 Cape Winelands grape harvest with some good ol’ hands-on harvesting and barefoot grape stomping! It’s great fun, so here’s a list of where you can go to give it a try (in alphabetical order):
De Krans Cellar, Calitzdorp – 8 Feb-3 March:
It’s coffee and muffins at 9am before hopping on the back of a tractor into the Grande Provence vineyards for grape picking. When enough grapes have been loaded onto the tractor you return to the cellar for a short tour, wine tasting and talk by the winegrower. Then it’s time to stomp the grapes you just picked. It’s a thirsty affair where wine and water flow in equal measure! After the effort, everyone gathers under the old oak tree for a scrumptious braai with live musical entertainment. It is R295 for adults including a bottle of Angel’s Tears, and R130 for children; there are special rates for groups of 10 or more.
Môreson Blessing of the Harvest Festival- 2 February:
Handpick your own basket of grapes then press them using the oldest tools in the business … your feet! Once you’re done with the stomping, Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant treats you to an unrivalled Harvest Feast, with dishes like watermelon gazpacho, leek & thyme tart, chicken confit, chestnut & truffle terrine, pepper roasted rump and much more. The day costs R450 per person and includes a glass of bubbles on arrival, picking, stomping, water to hydrate you, Bread & Wine’s Harvest Feast and your own bottle of foot-pressed wine (available for collection in November 2013). This is a great day out – see here for more info.
Get knee deep in grape juice at some of 12 wineries around Paarl Rock and stomp your way through a half-barrel filled with grapes, taste sweet juice in various stages of pre-wine fermentation, and chomp your way through a crisp ciabatta filled with soft cheeses and deli-style meats. Tailor-make your day by meandering along the route in your own time or see the website and pay as you go. Pre-paid tickets are R80 from Computicket, or R100 at the gate at any participating winery, kids under 18 enter for free. Included in the price is access to live bands, a commemorative wine tasting glass, part-fermented wine, and Zweibelküchen or onion tart where available from participating estates. Special events such as master class tastings should be booked in advance and are paid separately. There’s a free shuttle service running between participating wineries throughout the day.
Robertson Hands On Harvest – 22-24 February :
Hands on Harvest is a rather special event when you get to pretend to be a winemaker for a day! Small groups gather at 25 of Robertson’s vineyards (some of which are not ordinarily open to the public) and the focus is on a series of intimate events and hands-on experiences. This makes booking essential (by latest 20 Feb) and costs vary (see here for the programme). Events include harvesting your own grapes, learning the art of wine-making, eating farm breakfasts overlooking vineyards or from a boat on the Breede River, family grape stomping, wine tasting on horseback or horse-and-cart, tractor rides, picnics, market, harvest lunches, a spit braai or a Master Chef dinner.
Take part in genuine wine making at Stellenrust in groups consisting of 25 people (minimum). Starting at 10am with a glass of MCC you meet the owners, then head off in a tractor wagon to pick grapes; your tools are scissors and a traditional basket. Back at the cellar you have a full wine tasting while being taught the essence of winemaking – in a nutshell! Now climb up to your waste into a 9sqm tank with up to 3 tons of grapes and stomp your heart out! There’s a refreshing cold shower for you afterwards and an infamous Boland buffet braai or picnic. Stompers receive 12 bottles of their own foot-made wine the following year after proper barrel ageing. This amazing day ends around 3pm. See here for more.
Wine Expo at Stellenbosch Wine Festival – 1-3 Feb:
This blog post misses the grape stomp at Delheim Harvest Festival on 26 January, which is part of a whole series of events in the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, but you’re still in time to visit the Wine Expo on ‘die Braak’ in the centre of Stellenbosch, featuring interactive stands and tasting from more than 85 wine and gourmet food producers. Tickets cost R150, including wine tasting glass, entry to festival as well as a park and ride shuttle.