Celebrate Wine and Whiskers at Bot River’s Annual Harvest Festival

Posted by The Cape Country Meander on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 with No comments
Every year, at grape harvest time, Bot River becomes the unofficial home of arguably some of the finest facial hair in the Overberg. On Saturday, 5 April 2014, local winemakers will gather to celebrate and demonstrate that where there is a whisker there is a way. While the ticket holder public can expect something new and exciting every year, since the first festival in 2011, the festival’s two main defining features, wine and whiskers, have stayed the same.

Wine and whiskers
“The good old way” 2014 festival theme

Bot River wineries are all owner run. Everything you experience here is intimate and real and a little quirky – that’s the special personality of the place. There’s no conjuring of anything to create the rare experiences visitors come back for time and again, at least not until the Barrels and Beards Harvest Festival.

How the hirsute craze began

It’s increasingly popular on the Western Cape Festival Circuit. In fact it all started with Neels Verburg from Luddite Wine. He’s always shaved his head and grown a beard at harvest time. Then some years ago he threw down the whisker gauntlet and the first batch of hirsutes were judged at Bot River’s first Barrels and Beards Harvest Festival in 2011.
Neels Verburg, 2013 whisker-growing winner
At the big event

The event is a wonderful opportunity to leave city stress behind. You get to do some barrel tastings, weigh in on the whisker parade, chomp on a three-course dinner made from farm to table local produce and mingle with the locals. You’ll certainly discover that in spite of the facial rugs this is a friendly, welcoming community of civilised people.

Guests start arriving at 17:00, are greeted warmly and handed a glass to taste 2014 wine vintages. Mini soups with artisan fresh baked breads are served as you sip and toe-tap to the “Stoepsitters”, the local “boereorkes”. A boereorkes is a lively band with a unique sound where the lead instrument is usually a concertina (similar to an accordion). Dinner is served at around seven and the long awaited beard competition ensues.

Important information

This year’s event takes place at The Old Shed at Anysbos Farm on Swartrivier Road, just off the N2. In support of responsible drinking, the organisers have arranged a shuttle service, which leaves from The Botrivier Hotel. Tickets are a reasonable R270 and include barrel tastings, a souvenir wine glass, and dinner. While tickets are provisionally sold out, “provisionally” means that some might still be cancelled. So, do visit the website www.botriverwines.co.za for more information or contact Nicolene on 082 852 6547 or nicolene@botriverwines.co.za.

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