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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Things to enjoy in the Cape Winelands this February



Here is our list of current and upcoming wine and food-related events for February. There is so much happening right now that we have split the list up into a separate list for each month. March events are listed here. The list may be updated at any time, so watch this space…. (Click on the underlined Green highlights to access websites for more information). We have separate lists of restaurant special offers and wine farms which offer picnics, which are updated as we receive them from the restaurants, farms or their PR agencies. We also have a special list of Valentine’s events. Click on the underlined, bold words above to access them.
Cathy Marston, whom many of you will know from her late, lamented The Nose wine bar and currently as wine editor of food24.com is about to launch WSET Wine Courses for serious students of wine. The UK-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) wine courses are recognised as the international standard for wine courses with Approved Programme Providers in over 55 countries around the globe teaching WSET to their students. You can see more details and contact her on her website. (Ctrl/click here to access it). Cathy will also start another in her less serious series of wine courses on Wednesday, February 28th. Relax, chill-out and UnWined with the sociable wine course which combines education with good times, good friends and good wines! Cathy has been running her hugely popular informal wine courses for more than 8 years now and the combination of great winemakers, her friendly and informative teaching style and some of SA’s top wines has proved to be a winning one. You can read more and enrol here.
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:
Tapas Sundays at Holden Manz in Franschhoek. Every Sunday from 11h00 till 17h00 this summer until the end of March: Chill out on Sundays amidst the Franschhoek vines and live la dolce vita with tapas, wine and lounge music at Holden Manz, the magnificent boutique wine estate nestled between two rivers with majestic mountain views. Join tapas lovers on the vibrant cellar terrace for a wide selection of tapas dishes. Better still, start with tapas and stay for a more substantial lunch at the Franschhoek Kitchen, the Holden Manz signature restaurant situated above the cellar. The tapas menu, created by Chef Bjorn Dingemans, who joined the Franschhoek Kitchen after honing his craft working alongside some of the finest chefs in London, changes weekly and includes all the favourite classics. From patés, risotto balls, crispy squid and artisanal cheeses to a double shot of watermelon gazpacho, the tapas dishes are priced between R20 and R40. Enjoy this array of tastes with Holden Manz wine by the glass at R25 or R90 per bottle to share with friends. With house music creating just the right chilled out vibe, this is the perfect summer escape to laze away your Sundays. For Sunday Tapas or bookings at the Franschhoek Restaurant, Call 021-8762729, email wayne@holdenmanz.com or visit www.holdenmanz.com. To reach Holden Manz, turn right at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and follow the signs for two kilometres.
Friday Sundowners in the Tasting room at De Grendel 17h00 till 20h00. Make the best of summer sunsets. L’Heure bleue - the hour of blue. This is how the French describes the period when the sun has set, due to the wonderful quality of the light. Now imagine celebrating this special time of day on a Friday at De Grendel as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island. From November onwards you can make sundowners part of the rhythm of your week: a glass of exquisite De Grendel wine and a nibble in hand, the picturesque view of Table Mountain and a week-end to look forward to. What more can you ask for? Cost: R100 per person. This includes a welcoming drink by De Grendel Wines and canapés prepared by our guest chef. These flavour-packed bite-sized morsels might just be enough to replace dinner, depending on your appetite. Contact Christelle at 021 558 6280 or Christelle@degrendel.co.za for more info or to book.
LIVE MUSIC AT HARVEST     Kick start your weekend with a chilled glass of wine or bubbly at Harvest at Laborie Wine Farm in Paarl whilst enjoying the live music on offer every Friday, between 5pm and 8pm. Well known musicians include Newton and Johan who are sure to keep guests entertained with their mix of eclectic sounds, creating the perfect ambience. Order something light off the menu to whet the appetite or simply enjoy the sights and sounds whilst making the most of your relaxing experience. For more information contact Yolanda Prinsloo at Harvest on 021 807 3095 or prinsloo@laboriewines.co.za.
FEBRUARY:
Wednesday, 8th February to Saturday, 3rd March. Hanepoot picking at De Krans. During the months of February and March, De Krans Wine Cellar, situated in the quaint little town of Calitzdorp alongside the well known Route 62, will once again offer visitors to the area the opportunity to pick deliciously sweet Hanepoot grapes. This fun-filled picking experience will take place from 8 February to 3 March, and will be made available every day (except Sundays) from 08h00 until 16h00. Grapes cost R4.90/kg and visitors are welcome to bring their own containers. Alternatively containers can be purchased at De Krans at a minimal cost. Besides picking their own grapes, a visit to this award-winning cellar also affords visitors the opportunity to sample, at no extra cost, their range of 2011 award-winning wines. For bookings and further enquiries contact Helen Viljoen or Bessie Swanepoel at the farm on 044 213 3314 or email them at dekrans@mweb.co.za
Sunday, 19th February:  Double Big Band billing at the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The ever popular SA Army Band and Caledonian Pipe Band join forces on Sunday, 19th February to delight sunset concert patrons with their big band sound at the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West. The concerts are brought to you by the Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve and Fleur du Cap. Dressed in their traditional McDonald Tartan, the Caledonian Pipe Band will play a variety of standard items, but expect a few numbers you might not have heard before. This band is a regular at various functions - especially those with a Scottish flavour such as Burns Nicht at Kelvin Grove. The band was the overall winner of the Eastern Gathering in 2009 and also led the procession against women and children violence through the streets of Cape Town. The Army Band, which can hold its own with any international military band, is also the premier music training institution in the SANDF and has trained numerous musicians from neighbouring African countries. At present they are training members of the SADEC region in military music. Besides Rwanda and Congo, they will be training groups from Botswana this year. The Cape Town Tattoo at the Castle will take place from 31th October to 3rd November. If the 2010 Tattoo is anything to go by, it will be a great spectacle. Pack a picnic, arrive early and enjoy the sunset and excellent performers. The concert starts at 17:30 and tickets can be bought at the gate. The cost is R40 per adult and R10 for scholars. There is no admission fee for children under the age of five. The proceeds of the concerts are used to support environmental education projects at the Reserve. The sunset concert series, wraps up the season with Banned in Evolution on Sunday 11th March. Be sure not to miss it. All proceeds generated by the Sunset Concerts go towards environmental projects in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The tickets cost R40 per adult and R10 for scholars and the price includes entrance to the Reserve. There is no admission fee for children under the age of five. Tickets are available at the Helderberg Nature Reserve Information Centre or at the gate on concert days. Enquire about discounted season tickets at the Information Centre in the Reserve or phone them on (021) 851-4060. www.helderbergnaturereserve.co.za
Saturday, 25th and Sunday, 26th February, 09h30 to 18h00. Italia in Campagna - A Taste of Italy in the Cape Winelands at Da Capo Vineyards, Sir Lowry's Pass Village. The Bottega family, producers of Idiom wines, are set to host their annual Italian-themed harvest festival on the 25th and 26th of February 2012 at Da Capo Vineyards in the hills of Somerset West. Aptly named Italia in Campagna, or Italy in the Countryside, the event will host sixteen Italian food stalls, five top Italian restaurants and local and international producers of Italian wines. Organised in collaboration with the Italian Consulate, La Dante Italian School and the Friuli Society, the event is developed to support the Italian community and last year hosted over 550 guests. This year will see the celebration expanded to a two-day event, as its gates are opened to the public for the first time. The venue, which will become the site of the new Idiom Wines tasting area late in 2012, provides a wonderful mountain and vineyard setting, offering guests a spectacular views of the Cape Peninsula and Helderberg basin. For the young-at-heart, activities will include grape picking & stomping, 5-a-side calcetto (soccer), a bocce tournament , pony & tractor rides, a petting zoo, scarecrow making and waterslides, whilst the earnest can visit the many Italian stalls and indulge in a variety of gastronomic temptations and wine workshops. For the more energetic, guided mountain walks to take in the fynbos and the spectacular views will be possible. A highlight will be the regional food and wine pairing dinner on Saturday 25th February from 6pm, with the visiting Italian wine producers from Sicily, Sardinia, Tuscany, the Veneto and Piedmont, sharing their philosophies about their wines and terroir. Seating is limited so book early. Italian food, wine and lifestyle will be celebrated at the festival. From vendemmia to vino, barbera to sangiovese , mozzarella to prosciutto, and caffé to biscotti and grappa guests of all ages will be afforded the opportunity to experience a true taste of Italy in the Cape. Tickets are available online through http://www.blogger.com/www.webtickets.co.za at R100 per person
Friday, 24th to Sunday, 26th February. Robertson Wine Valley Hands-on Harvest. With harvest time around the corner, it is time to make plans to head out to the Robertson Wine Valley to experience the ‘magic of harvest’. This boutique fun-filled family event promises to offer a wide variety of activities that will appeal to both wine lovers and budding vintners. As some of the wineries participating in ‘Hands-On Harvest’ are not ordinarily open to the public, the focus will be on hosting a series of intimate events. This ensures that guests enjoy the best, most personalised and ‘hands-on’ experiences. Visit www.handsonharvest.com for the programme of activities (which includes contact details for participating wineries). All bookings to be made directly with participating wineries by no later than 22 February. Payment is required in advance. Visit the web-based regional brochure, www.robertsonwinevalley.com, for accommodation options.
Friday, 24th and Saturday, 25th February The third annual Constantia Fresh festival once again explores the distinctiveness and freshness of the ‘wild white’ grape, Sauvignon Blanc, while examining the red Blends of Constantia and spoiling fine diners at Cellars Hohenort. South Africa's foremost Sauvignon Blanc festival will take place in the Constantia Valley. Focusing on the wines of Constantia and their world-class qualities, the festival showcases local and foreign wines while sticking to a Constantia based theme. The first event of the 2012 Constantia Fresh Festival kicks off on the 24th of February where Jörg Pfützner of Fine Wine Events will host a fine wine tasting focusing on Constantia's finest Reds in the company of some excellent and sought after international versions. The tasting will affirm the notion that the wines of Constantia can hold their own amongst the finest in the world. Wines from  Château Leoville Barton, Vina Sena, Lokoya, Dominus, and J. L. Chave, Rostaing will mingle happily with those from Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Eagles Nest, all showing their varied styles but also their unmissable quality. Several of the wines received perfect or nearly perfect scores from the usual suspects. This is a tasting that looks to explore the similarities and differences shared by a host of excellent wines. The wines of Constantia and the finest in the world make excellent companions.  Tickets to attend this tasting are on sale at R1500 per person. The Greenhouse Restaurant, Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, Friday evening, 24th February is the next venue for the festival’s Fine Dining Event. Fine Wine Events will put forward some of the finest white, red and sweet wines Constantia and Bordeaux have to offer. Welcomed with a selection of Constantia’s Méthode Cap Classiques, guests will be given a welcome address by Peter Tempelhoff, recently awarded the status of Grand Chef at the Relais and Châteaux congress in Lisbon. Tempelhoff will prepare a five course degustation menu for 12 local and international wines featured at this dinner. Guests can expect to drink wines such as the Steenberg Magna Carta, Château  Lascombes, Château L'Eglise Clinet , Château Leoville Barton Grand Constance and Vin de Constance alongside The Greenhouse’s culinary creations for the evening. Seats at the dinner are limited due to the intimate nature of The Greenhouse restaurant. Tickets to attend this dinner are on sale at R1500 per person. Saturday 25th February’s big event will have wine enthusiasts wandering about the lawns of Buitenverwachting sampling South Africa's finest Sauvignon Blancs paired with canapés made by South Africa's best chefs.  An elegantly constructed braai will take place in the early evening where Constantia’s red wines will be served. Tickets to this tasting are on sale at R400 per person. Pfützner has extended the invitation to the top South African Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blend producers. ‘Constantia Fresh’, now in its third year running, is possible thanks to the support of the host region and participating Constantia producers namely Klein Constantia, Groot Constantia, Steenberg, Eagle’s Nest, Buitenverwachting and Constantia Glen. Saturday 25th February’s big event will have wine enthusiasts wandering about the lawns of Buitenverwachting sampling South Africa's finest Sauvignon Blancs paired with canapés made by five of South Africa's most celebrated chefs attending the event:  Bertus Basson (Overture Restaurant), Peter Tempelhoff (The Greenhouse), Edgar Osojnik (Buitenverwachting), Vanessa Marx (Dear Me) and Harald Bresselschmidt (Aubergine). Live music will take place early evening to be followed by an elegantly constructed braai hosted by Buitenverwachting Restaurant and the High Constantia Gourmet Deli. Guests will have the chance to enjoy the excellent red wines of Constantia at this braai. Tickets to this tasting are on sale at R400 per person. Tickets to these events can be bought at the participating local and regional wine farms or from www.webtickets.co.za. For further information, please visit www.constantiafresh.com of contact Fine Wine Events on enjoy@finewineevents.co.za. Participating Producers: ‘Constantia Fresh’ features a total of three palate-inspiring events taking place on the 24th and 25th February 2012 which is possible thanks to the support of the host region and participating Constantia producers namely Klein Constantia, Groot Constantia, Steenberg, Eagle’s Nest, Buitenverwachting and Constantia Glen. Pfüutzner has extended the invitation to the top South African Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blend producers. Contact Jorg Pfutzner of Fine Wine Events, +27 72 467 5943 eMail info@finewineevents.co.za  www.constantiafresh.com
Saturday, 25th February, Feast and festivities at the annual Spier Wine Harvest Festival. Spier will celebrate its annual grape harvest on the banks of the Eerste River, in front of its new wine tasting area.  The lawns will be transformed into a market offering delectable treats, to be paired with Spier’s award-winning 21 Gables and Creative Block wines. Relax with wine and food under the trees while the kids play interactive games including puppet shows, magicians, face painting and popular vineyard tours via tractor.  Spier’s new MCC will be on offer with oysters, while the award-winning Spier Creative Block blends and 21 Gables will be available for tasting in.  Spier’s celebrated Cellar Master, Frans Smit will bless the harvest and his winemaking team will lead the charge in the annual grape stomping challenge! Bands will play during the day, filling the air with bluesy tunes.  The Spier Wine Harvest Festival runs from 10h00 to 16h00 and costs R70, which includes a wine glass and five tickets that can be used either for wine tastings or games.  Tickets can only be purchased at Spier on the day. For further info, visit www.spier.co.za or call 021 809 1100.
Saturday, 25th February.  Dusk Harvesting, Music and Picnic Dinner at Nederburg. Take part in the creation of some of Nederburg’s award-winning wines by joining the winery’s twilight harvest on Saturday, February 25. On arrival, you’ll be treated to a refreshing sparkling wine cocktail and a special Nederburg gift. Freshly-baked mosbolletjies, bread rolls and korrelkonfyt made from Pinotage grapes will be available to snack on while awaiting the expert harvesting team who will teach you how to hand-pick perfectly ripened grapes. After harvesting, you’ll get to taste freshly-pressed grape must, which is juice that has already started fermenting, as well as some tank samples of wine so you can experience the journey from the vineyard to the bottle. A scrumptious harvest picnic dinner and some fine Nederburg wines will next be served on the sprawling lawns in front of the 19th century manor house while Sterling EQ performs. We suggest wearing comfortable clothing and shoes. The cost is R200 per person (includes the picnic-dinner and a bottle of Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve wine per couple). R65 per child under 12. Booking is essential to secure your reservation. Please contact Sunette Rust on 021 862 3104 or send an e-mail to nedwines@distell.co.za.
Saturday, 25th February.  Hands-On-Ashton Kelder Grape Stomping. In days of old when a press was not yet invented trousers were rolled and grapes were stomped. Enjoy a day of grape crushing at Ashton Kelder. Order a Picnic basket at R120 serves two and includes a bottle of Wine or Grape Juice. Bag-On-A-Broomstick meals are R25 for the kids. Activities include a jumping castle and a giant chess set for the kids and wine tasting and sales for adults. Starts anytime between 09h00 and 15h00. For more information visit www.ashtonkelder.co.za.
Saturday 25th February. Amazing Race, GRAPEscape, Robertson Wine Valley. 10 Wineries, 10 Teams, 10 Challenges. Starting Point: Sumsaré Family Wines. Cost: R120 per Person, 4 Members per Team. Includes a Goodie Bag, light Lunch, Wine & Grape Juice. For more info contact info@ashtonkelder.co.za. 023 615 1135. Helpful hint: Google. Ts & Cs Apply • Designated Driver Required • No under 18s. 1st Prize: Breakaway Weekend in the Lovely Robertson Wine Valley & loads of Wine. Starting Time: 08h00. Cut off Time: 13h00
Saturday, 25th February: Tantalising Summer Series of Tapas & Jazz at Hartenberg continues with Manouche. Hartenberg Wine Estate presents another summer of mouth-watering Saturday Tapas & Jazz evenings with an outstanding line-up of top local artists including Manouche and Cape Dutch Connection until March 2012. To add a new spin, this year’s lineup will also feature artists from a variety of other music genres, such as the well know South African rock group the Jesse Jordan Band.  Ticket price is R150 per couple for the evening. The cover charge includes a bottle of outstanding Hartenberg wine to start the evening on a festive note. Tantalizing tapas platters will be available all evening at between R35 and R80. Additional wine can be purchased at cellar door prices. Further jazz and tapas evenings take place from 16h00 - 20h00, on the following dates:  31st March: Cape Dutch Connection. For bookings, call +27 21 865 2541, Email: info@hartenbergestate.com or visit www.hartenbergestate.com. You can also purchase your tickets through www.webtickets.co.za. Hartenberg Estate is situated on the Bottelary Road off the R304 to Stellenbosch.
Saturday, 25th February. Grande Provence Harvest Festival. Calling all budding vintners and wine aficionados to experience the magic of harvest day! The day, which promises a great deal of fun and laughter, starts at 09h00 with coffee and fresh muffins followed by a tractor ride to the vineyard for grape picking. At 10h30 arrive back to the cellar for a short tour, wine tasting and a talk by Jaco Marais award-winning winemaker. This is followed by the fun part - stomping the grapes in the barrels, with a hose down of your feet afterwards! From 11h15 gather in the garden under the old oak tree for a scrumptious braai, accompanied by live musical entertainment. Cost for the day is R290 per adult and R130 for children under 12. Included in the price, is one bottle of Angels Tears wine per adult, to be collected from the event organiser on your departure. The Harvest Festival is highly recommended as an excellent team building activity, special rates will be given to groups of 10 guests or more. For more information, visit www.grandeprovence.co.za.
Saturday, 25th February.  The Spier 2012 Harvest Festival. Spier will celebrate its annual grape harvest on the banks of the Eerste River, in front of the wine tasting room. Spier’s celebrated Cellar Master, Frans Smit, will bless the harvest and his winemaking team will lead the charge in the annual grape stomping challenge! Bands will play during the day, filling the air with bluesy tunes. The Spier Wine Harvest Festival runs from 10h00 to 16h00 and costs R70, which includes a wine glass and five tickets that can be used either for wine tastings or games. Tickets can only be purchased at Spier on the day. For more information, visit www.spier.co.za.
Saturday, 25th February.  Darling Cellars Crush Day. Darling Cellars hosts its harvest festival on 25 February from 7h00. Tickets cost R220 per person for adults, R150 for teenagers (13 to 17 years old) and R80 for children aged 12 and under. The ticket price includes a whole bunch of goodies. Bookings are essential. Picking, crushing, eating and drinking in the sun! The day includes breakfast, picking and crushing your own grapes (plus your very own wine and label to come 8 to 10 months later!), label design competition. A traditional West Coast lunch and wine tasting is available. For more information and bookings contact Johan on 022 492 2276 or email tasting@darlingcellars.co.za.
 
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