To many people think the term wine tasting relates to the activity of visiting a wine farm (or a few farms) over a weekend and sitting in the tasting room with friends while sampling the Estates offerings.
While this is an enjoyable way to spend a day in the winelands, one is often limited by time and the distances between farms. This often means that most winelands visitors often choose a selection of farms in one geographic area to visit.
Though this allows one more leisurely time, most people don’t take the time to visit areas that are harder to come by and often off the beaten track.
There are a few ways that I have come across that allows a person the freedom to taste wines from multiple farms without needing to drive too far or waste a lot of time. For ease of explanation I have broken the options down below.
Option 1: Attend a regional festival
Regional festivals allow visitors the opportunity to drive to one central point and taste wines from the entire region’s farms thereby providing ease of navigation and more time to visitors who prefer to move at a more leisurely pace. This also makes it easier for wine tasters to identify similarities in wines from the same region. The only down side to regional festivals is that due to popularity it does often become a bit crowded. Popular festivals which are coming up in the next couple of months are:
Franschhoek Bastille Festival 16-17 July
Breedekloof Soetes and Soup Festival 22 – 23 July
Stellenbosch Wine Festival and Wine Week 23 – 31 July
Robertson Slow Festival in August
Swartland Revolution in November
Option 2: Attend a public tasting
Public tastings are great due to the fact that they offer a wide selection of wines from different regions for the eager wine taster to try in one location. This makes it possible for people to try wines which they would not otherwise have been able to try as the sheer distances between most regions makes them difficult to visit. Public tastings are often linked to either competitions or other events such as auctions.
The fact that the public tastings are linked to such prestigious events means that the wines on offer have been put through a rigorous selection panel and are well worth the taste.
The two public tastings which I had the fortunate pleasure of attending recently were the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show public tastings, where I was able to taste the high scoring and extremely rare 1933 KWV White Jerepigo, and last night’s Nederburg Pre Auction public tasting where I was also fortunate enough to try some rare stand out wines.
The three wines which took my fancy at last night’s event were:
Nederburg Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Bellevue Pinotage 2002
Le Bonheur Prima 2001
If you have missed both of these public tastings, don’t worry as they are annual events which you’d be able to visit next year. Just keep an eye out for the announcements as these tastings are very popular and tickets sell fast. If you are however keen to attend a public tasting you are still able to attend the Nederburg Pre Auction Tasting in Johannesburg on the 27th of July. The Top 100 SA wines consumer festival public tastings are also around the corner with the date set as 21 July for the Johannesburg festival.
This article was first published as a blog post on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.