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What to expect when attending wine festivals this summer

By: Natasha Archary

wine festivals
Image: Adobe Stock

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, or have only just started your wine journey, attending wine festivals this summer is a good way to explore a variety of wines and socialise with fellow wine lovers.

Wine festivals are more than just wine, it’s a cultural experience with good music to set the tone and keep things relaxed.

Wine connoisseurs from across the country, and some international guests attend wine festivals to network, sample international brands, and of course add to their collection.

If you’re new to wine, don’t feel intimidated because these festivals offer tastings in an informal setting, offering you a chance to learn more about fine wines.

You have the opportunity to talk to the winemakers, distributors and other like-minded individuals.

What can you expect at wine festivals?

Music

A good wine festival will be held at an outdoor venue with a few popular local or international artists performing throughout the weekend, or day.

Music sets the tone for a chilled day of tasting and you associate the wines to the ambience.

Food

Wine and food go hand in hand and a festival will have many food stalls so you can and should spend the day indulging the tastebuds.

When tasting wines, you need to eat something before and throughout the sampling. Those sampling sized pours all add up and could have you tipsy in no time. (Unless you’re spitting the wine.)

Most festivals will run a theme for the event which will filter down to the food on offer at each stall. A wine festival is not the same as a tasting and the two should never be compared.

Wine

Of course a majority of attendees are there to sample good wine. With so many brands and types of wine that will be on offer, it’s usually a good idea to have a plan of attack.

Knowing where to start, which labels cannot be missed and taking notes of your favourites will help you map out your time.

There will be queues at each wine stall and this should not ruin your day. Be patient and if the lines are too long, simply circle back so you don’t waste precious sipping time.

Fashion

Depending on the festival theme, most wine festivals are informal. You won’t have to break out that gala evening dress but do ensure your outfit is appropriate for the weather.

Dress comfortably and if outdoors remember a sweater or jacket. Unless otherwise specified, try not to wear flops.

The general consensus is that smart formal is acceptable. But then again, informal affairs should not really have a dress code.

Wine festivals make for a good day or weekend out and about. Where possible attend with a mixed group of wine enthusiasts – from novice to expert – so the discussions around the wines sampled are engaging.

Have fun and remember your glass should never be empty.

Also read: Make your braai interesting by adding this to the fire

Written by: Natasha



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