Greetings fellow oenophiles.
One would assume you are visiting or intend visiting Franschhoek to sample and enjoy some of the wonderful wines its wine farms have to offer. And you would be spot on in doing so!
With over 50 wine farms to choose from and many many more in the surrounding areas (including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington etc), you are indeed spoilt for choice.
Our valley produces a huge variety of wines from a vast array of cultivars and we love blending in the traditional sense, such as my favourite Bordeaux-style blends, but we also have some unique blends like La Bourgogne’s Red, Malbec and Syrah blend. Very unusual and delicious.
During the year we showcase our wines as much as possible with quite a few festivals, some of which you may have heard of or even attended at one time or another.
We start the year with Summer Wines in February. As you can imagine, it is to introduce the new vintages of white and rose wines and of course some bubbly, which are all summer favourites. We gather at one of the larger wine farms and get to sample a small select offering from each farm. Coupled with oysters, sushi, chocolate and music, it is an extremely festive afternoon, usually dressed in white.
The next festival on the cards is the Winter Wines in May. It follows on the same premise as the summer wines but this time you will be in for a treat with our gorgeous Red Wines on show. Once again, only a select few wines are on offer, just to keep things interesting. By now the weather has changed so you may need to wrap up a big warmer, but then again, you could be lucky and find it’s one of those amazing hot winter days we have between Cape storms.
Our next festival is the biggy. The one everyone knows about. It’s been going on every year from the past 26 years and is a firm Franschhoek favourite. Of course, I am referring to the famous Bastille Festival which is held over the closest weekend to Bastille Day, the 14th of July. Our little village is packed to the rafters and there is so much to do and see. The main event takes place in the tent and all the vineyards from near and far are represented there. Awesome food stalls and live music ensure it’s a great fun festive jol.
In the village, our main street, Huguenot Rd, is resplendent in its decorated buildings, pop-up tents (in case of rain), the red, white and blue flags and bunting all over and people dressed for the occasion in the same colours and wearing the obligatory beret. The village market is hugely expanded and under cover for the weekend and you will be greatly entertained and well fed there. Of course, we also have beer, so fear not. Craft beer is big in our village and there will be plenty of it available. Food stalls as far as the eye can see will ensure you never go hungry and the restaurants usual have specials offer on for the weekend.
Our local pubs compete to entertain you in the best possible way and have live music almost constantly throughout the day. The evenings can get really busy and you’ll have to pay a cover charge at both of them but you will be entertained.
This weekend is the highlight in the Franschhoek calendar and as a wine lover you should visit us at least once, or many times…. ?
We take a break for a couple of weeks to recover from Bastille and then open up our wine farms to visitors for the Uncorked Festival in the first week of September, which by the way, is the next festival on the cards at time of writing. By now, the weather has warmed up a little, the Fynbos is blooming in all its brilliance and our new Rose’s are ready to be sampled. With your ticket purchased, you are welcome to wonder on to any of the 17 participating wine farms in the area at your leisure and enjoy their tastings and the food, live entertainment, lawn games and cork golf that they have arranged for their visitors. It’s actually a great way to see our valley. You are not in a tent or on one farm only and get to see quite a bit of the area and the various farms and what they have to offer. And don’t worry, you wont go hungry. There’s always food available, usually created by our world-class chefs so well worth it.
Cap Classique and Champagne Festival
The final festival of the year, and my personal favourite, is the very elegant and sophisticated Cap Classique and Champagne Festival which is held in the first week of December.
It’s an all Black and White affair and our patrons dress to impress! The weather is hot, the bubbly is flowing and almost every bubbly producer in South Africa is represented as well as a couple of famous guys from yonder shores that you may have heard of. Once again, live music will entertain you, fun photo booths to record your visit, stunning gourmet quick meals and an atmosphere of fun and fashion ensure a fabulous afternoon in Franschhoek.
So there you have it. If you’re looking for wine festivals, Franschhoek has plenty to offer.
Of course, our wine farms are open most of the year for your tasting (and purchasing) pleasure. Some close for a short while during winter but on the whole, they are open 365 days a year. We offer great wine tours by bike or by car or even on horse back, so get in touch or give us a call and book your next wine tasting adventure with us. We look forward to it!