The Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival is a new event showcasing wineries on the Elgin Valley Wine Route. Launching this Saturday (4 May 2013), the festival will feature fifteen participating Elgin wineries who will open their doors to festival goers, providing them with a “fabulous day of fine wine, hearty food and live entertainment”.

The festival follows a completely unique format, never seen before in South Africa. The day is divided into 3 sessions – morning, lunch and afternoon – starting at 09h00 and ending at 17h00. Festival goers will book 3 winery venues of their choice, 1 winery per session. Each winery will offer some form of entertainment varying from live bands, boullè, art collections, tractor rides, to kiddie’s playgrounds and more. Wines will be sold by-the-glass and bottle, with lunches available at all lunchtime venues.

The 3 sessions are divided as follows:

  • 1st morning session 9am – 11.30am
  • 2nd lunch session 11.30am – 2.30pm
  • 3rd afternoon session 2.30pm – 5pm

From what I can see, visitors can choose only one winery per session (this choice is made in advance, when booking your ticket) – so you would visit a total of three wineries during the course of the day, moving on to your next winery as the sessions change over.  Hopefully all the wineries will have enough on the go to keep visitors happy and occupied for the duration (2-3 hours) or you might find people getting bored and moving on, only to have to wait outside until the next session begins.

It sounds quite fun, and the entertainment and eating options are certainly quite varied (Oneiric’s slow-cooked Lamb Hot Pot lunch and croquet on the lawns would be my top pick!). Tickets are R100 per person which includes entry into the three wineries, a free wine glass, a free wine pour, and a festival leaflet.  View the full list of participating wineries (includes their food menus, available wines and what kind of entertainment will be on offer).

And, if you’re eco-conscious, you’ll be happy to hear that the Elgin Valley Wine Route is committed to sustainable wine production.  Elgin has 4 Biodiversity & Wine Champions (BWI), an established eco-route known as the Green Mountain Eco-Route, a strong commitment to eco-tourism, and vines that grow alongside the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve – a Unesco Heritage Site.

For further information on the festival and to book tickets online, please visit

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