Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Stellenbosch Wine Festival

So nice to see the annual Stellenbosch Festival back in its traditional format and being held right in the centre of Stellenbosch again on the historic Braak (common) which is surrounded by historic Cape Dutch houses. It was a sizzlingly hot day and parking was very hard to find in this busy and buzzing University town but we made the opening ceremony being held at 11 on Friday, January 31st. We found shelter with other media under the imported trees and umbrellas in front of the stage and listened intently to the speeches. Very good canapés were served non-stop and we were supplied with good cold glasses of wine and lots of water. And Pick n Pay, the sponsors, came up with a really helpful promotion. They had young ladies doing the rounds dispensing high SPF Sun tan lotions and creams to protect your skin from sunburn and on an extremely hot day like this, it was very welcome. Lynne must confess that the heat really got to her and she drank more water than wine but John thrives in it. Sensibly most red wines were also being cooled alongside the white wines.
 The show was opened by Leigh-Anne Williams of the SABC
A Stellenbosch Councillor told us why the festival had returned to the Braak.
Winemakers and media in the shade, listening to the speeches
A very welcome glass of chilled Stellenbosch Method Cap Classique - Villiera's Tradition
Christian Eedes with André Morgenthal of WOSA
Each ward of the Stellenbosch wine region had its own area with mist cooled marquees
Annareth Bolton , CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Route
Stellenbosch Wine Routes has started a fund, The Stellenbosch Wine Festival Foundation, to help promote and support deserving people who live on wine farms in their studies, not necessarily related to working in the wine industry. Bursaries to the value of R100 000 were awarded to three students at the University of Stellenbosch.   This impressive donation forms part of the festival’s community outreach and development programme.  The recipients are Felecia Solomons of Saxenburg wine estate on Polkadraai, a second year Humanities student, third year Social Dynamics student Ashriq Pietersen from Lynedoch and fourth year medical student Yvonne Dyum of Muratie.
This is one of the recipients receiving her cheque
Fiona MacDonald and others listen to the Awards presentation
Kathy Marston, journalist and WSET instructor
Wine farmer and restaurateur Ken Forrester explains the difference the awards will make to the lives of the recipients
Co-incidentally Ken Forester wines won the award for the best float at the Festival parade held the previous Saturday through Stellenbosch.
Sales Manager Anthony van Schalkwyk holds the award.
It was this big.....
Ken Forrester with Leigh-Anne Williams
Nannie de Villiers and Corinne Carlse of Vergenoegd
Colyn Truter
Lovely surprise snack platters were provided by sponsors Pick n Pay In the VIP tent at lunchtime
Large trees were cleverly and temporarily brought in from local nurseries to give the festival goers some well needed shade over the table.
Long rows of marquees containing wine farms and their wines were placed around the edges of the Braak, with seating in the middle.
And some clever farms like Waterford brought in extra seating, tables and more shade
There was a Pick n Pay food ‘market’ when you could buy things to eat and assemble a picnic 
Places to eat and drink
These guys were our heroes. The temperature at this point , approximately 3.30 pm as we left, was 43.5°C and they had been braaiing (barbecuing) on open fires all day. Yes, they are Ultimate Braai Masters. Sadly we didn’t have the energy to taste anything hot. We hear the weather on Saturday and Sunday was much cooler and very enjoyable.
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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