Why not start your new year on a happy high? You can do that by joining the colourful annual Stellenbosch harvest parade. It is the heartland of South African wine, after all! Adding to its prominence, the event takes place in the very same week that South Africa commemorates the 364th year since wine was first made in South Africa. How amazing?
South Africa is the only country in the world with a recorded official date – 2 February 1659 – for this occasion. Harvest festivals are, however, ubiquitous in wine farming communities around the world, and serve not only to celebrate, but also to bless the impending season when grapes are gathered for the new wine.
Elmarie Rabie, Stellenbosch Wine Routes‘ manager says: “Harvest is the moment Mother Nature reveals her reward for a year’s worth of care for the vineyards.”
The Stellenbosch Wine Harvest Parade takes place in collaboration with the local municipality and South Africa’s oldest wine route, Stellenbosch Wine Routes.
The streets of Stellenbosch are lined with watchers who come to see the floats and their dressed-up entourage every year. Among them are winemakers and workers, and lovers of wine too. It starts mid-morning at the Toy Museum in Market Street and winds its way among the town’s renowned oak lined streets to conclude at the Town Hall for a short ceremony. Here, the mayor of Stellenbosch, who is also the festival patron, will officially bless the harvest. The parade will then depart and conclude back in Market Street.
Hotly contested trophies for best spirit and best float will also be awarded and the wine route encourages young and old to join in and cheer them on.
More Cape-based events here.