Take a gorgeous river vista, the smell of cooking food, and a lush abundance of Robertson Wine Valley wines and you’ve got a foolproof recipe for a good time! That is, unless you drink a bit too much and fall in the river but let’s keep this upbeat, shall we? The Wine on the River festival is one of those annual celebrations whose names pretty much spells out what you can expect. And could there be anything better than sipping your way through a variety of quality wines on the banks of the Breede River?
Every year, around the last weekend of October, people who’ve outgrown Halloween parties flock to Goudmyn Farm for a weekend of food, wine, and good time indulgence. The Wine on the River festival is a fantastic opportunity to seriously kick back, soak up the beautiful scenery, and sip on wine and good clean country air in equal measure.
Action and adventure at the festival
For those with a slightly more voracious appetite for adventure, there’s absolutely no shortage of activities on offer. For one, you might sign up for an interactive tasting during which a member of the Cape Wine Academy takes you through a selection of local wines, explaining how to smell and taste the wine like someone who knows what they’re doing. You can actually learn something while drinking wine! Plus, you’ll likely walk away with a deeper appreciation of this precious liquid and the incredible skill, talent, and passion that goes into its crafting.
How about a boozy boat cruise down the Breede River? There’s one that transports guests from the neighbouring Viljoensdrift wine estate to the festival site and it’s absolutely worth making the trip if only for their mind-numbingly good Villion NV MCC, never mind the fact that’s it’s outrageously fun to be on a boozy boat cruise on the Breede River. So, do yourself a favour, buy a bottle and enjoy it on the boat ride back. You’re welcome.
Wine safaris of neighbouring estates
There are wine safari tours that, each day of the festival, take passengers on riveting vineyard tours of various estates around the Robertson wine valley, such as De Wetshof, Weltevrede, Excelsior, Arendsig, Viljoensdrift, and Kranskop. More than that, you get to learn about special aspects of this fruitful wine route, from the incredible variety of chardonnays to the unique and delicious cabernet sauvignons produced here.
Also, the dashing winemakers from these estates actually accompany you on the safari truck and, if you’re nice and bat your eyelids viciously enough, may possibly be talked in to taking along a bottle or two as padkos for the trip. It’s absolutely worth ripping yourself away from the banks of the river to feel the wind in your hair, soak up the verdant vineyard and mountain vistas, and to rub shoulders with veritable wine wizards.
Arts & crafts; glamping & camping
You want more? There’s live music, arts and crafts, and delicious food produce by local artisans. There’s “glamping” and regular camping, and all the romantic stuff that goes along with it (star gazing, playing guitars around camp fires, etc.) There’s an abundance of food options and, as they say on the website, eating is not cheating. Besides, if you don’t gorge yourself on all the delicious, mouth-watering country fare, you’ll only be cheating yourself and potentially allowing the wine to get the better of you.
Last but far from least, there’s wine…lots of wine. More than 30 wineries from around the Robertson Wine Valley participate every year, so grab a glass and totter from one stand to the next sampling the stratospherically good wines produced in this world-class region.
Whip out those calendars!
Of course – and devastatingly so – the Wine on the River festival has already come and gone and so all of this might seem somewhat redundant. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not. And that’s because this spring wine festival is so incredibly popular that you’re going to want to put it on your 2019 calendars at your earliest convenience and, while you’re at it, also pen in periodic reminders to book accommodation at Goudmyn Farm in good enough time. Who wants to Uber to a nearby guesthouse when you can sleep on the banks of the Breede River a short walk away from all the action? Just think about the smell of breakfast wafting through the festival grounds in the morning and your proximity to delicious bubbly! It’s SO worth it.
The Wine on the River festival is a true stand-out event on the wine lover’s calendar. The tranquillity of the setting coupled with the honest, country living philosophies of the artisans, chefs, winemakers, and craftspeople who live and work in this picturesque valley make it so much more special than any of the other big annual festivals in the Cape. And if you do accidentally have too much wine and fall in the river, you can take solace in the fact that you aren’t the first to have done so, nor will you be the last!