Be amongst the first to sample wines from the 2009 vintage straight from the tank and to enjoy a real Boland harvest at Round the Rock. On Saturday 7 March several Paarl cellars – scattered around the majestic granite dome that gave the town its name – will be throwing open their cellar doors from 09:00. 

If you have a vague idea of how terms like yeast and must fit into the wine-making process and want to get a firmer grip on things, Round the Rock will be the ideal place: come and taste unfiltered young wines, pick, tread and eat as much grapes as you can, or blend and bottle your own wine with the help of one of the distinguished winemakers from the area. Win big prizes in the various barrel filling, barrel rolling and grape stomping competitions. 

And visiting the cellars is as easy as hop-on-hop-off as a convenient shuttle will be available between Boland Cellar, Windmeul, Ridgeback Wines, Under Oaks, Rhebokskloof, Nelson Wine Estate and Domaine Brahms. The Round the Rock programme caters extremely well for all action junkies: those with a head for heights can enjoy a flight around Paarl Mountain in a Cessna or fully restored 1942 Boeing Stearman, named Tin Lizzie. You can also take part in the boeresport or fishing competition at Simonsvlei or practice your swing at Mountain Shadows’ golf and wine competition.

You can of course just sit back and watch the action over the brim of a glass of the region’s best, munch on delicious fare from a picnic basket or make your way to one of Paarl’s famous restaurants for a three-course meal, including oysters and bubbly. Or enjoy a harvest breakfast with the Harley Davidson Club at Simonsvlei, sushi at Windmeul Cellar or sunset oysters and sparkling wine at Seidelberg. Also ensure that you don’t miss out on the warm onion tart traditionally associated with European festivals of this kind. Quite a few of the participating cellars will be offering this delicacy with a South African twist – try for example ‘itswele-dumplings’ (the Xhosa version) at Boland Cellar or Malay onion samoosas at KWV’s Cathedral Cellar or stick to our own favourite mosbolletjies at Nederburg. 

Various well-known artists will lend a proudly South African flavour to a tradition which has its roots in the northern hemisphere: listen to Alta Joubert and her guitar at Rhebokskloof, Andries Vermeulen & friends at Boland Cellar, the Ysterkoei group at Café Juno and Zinkplaat and Munro du Toit at Windmeul Cellar. Inspiring food and glass blowing demonstrations, art exhibitions and big screen rugby completes the Round the Rock experience. 

As this is a jolly family festival, entertainment for youngsters ranks high on the agenda at every cellar and entrance for those under 18 will be free. The young ones’ programme includes a performance called “My name is Lollos” at Rhebokskloof, as well as horse carriage, pony and tractor rides and jumping castles at almost all participating cellars. Fairview will entertain the little ones with a petting zoo. 

Tickets for adults cost R50 and include a tasting glass and 10 tasting coupons. Tickets and additional coupons will be available at all participating cellars. 

Sandra Lotz at +27 (0)21 863 4886 or +27 (0)82 924 7254.

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