The Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival ‘The Magic of Bubbles’ presented by Mastercard, 2 & 3 December 2017

Nothing but nothing says Time To Celebrate! quite like Champagne. Which is why it’s so nice to kick off the festive season celebrations with the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival. With the iconic Huguenot Monument providing a spectacular backdrop, you’ll have the chance to sit back, relax and sample some of the many exceptional local MCC’s (Méthode Cap Classiques) and handpicked French champagnes. The grand marquee – the place to be seen – will be oozing style, elegance and sophistication, as you mingle with local MCC producers as well as a handful of international brands. Dress to impress in your Black and White with a Splash of Summer themed outfit.

Besides the fabulous MCC’s, local restaurants will ensure you don’t go hungry with their range of delectable delights. Treat your taste buds to these world-class food offerings. Tickets cost R375 per person and include access to the festival, which is open daily between 12pm and 5pm, and a complimentary tasting glass and tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry to the festival. Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za. Use your Mastercard to pay and receive a 10 percent discount on your ticket purchase, as well as a 10 percent discount on all purchases made at the festival.

Groote Post Christmas Market, Sunday 17 December

Groote Post’s monthly Country Market is one of my favourites for its sheer ‘laid-backness’. It’s normally on the last Sunday of the month, but being December there is an extra special treat in the form of a Christmas market on the 17th. Expect all the usual wonderful nibbles, market goodies and entertainment plus wonderful Christmas decorations and gifts. In addition to the normal entertainment for the wee ones, Santa will be on hand as well. Read more about the Groote Post Country Market here.

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Fruit pickings and leisurely lunches at De Krans this summer

If you’re planning on taking a drive along the fabulous Route 62 through the Klein Karoo this summer, a stop at De Krans just outside Calitzdrop is a must. Starting in November and running until March, you’ll be able to not just taste their wonderful wines at the estate, but also pick your very own farm fruit in season. From 22 November to 3 December the Bulida Apricots will be available to pick at R6.50 per kg. If you prefer peaches best you diarise 16 to 27 December when the Oom Sarel Cling Peaches will be ready for perfect pickings at R8.00 per kg. Ending off the fruit-picking season on a high note, don’t miss out on picking your share of Hanepoot Grapes from 7 February to 4 March 2018 at R7.50 per kg. These dates are weather dependent, and may change slightly at short notice. To ensure you don’t miss out on the fun activity suited to the whole family, it is advisable to contact the farm prior to your planned visit, to confirm the picking dates.

The perfect family outing De Krans will be open seven days a week from 9am until 4pm for the picking of these fruits, with the exception of Christmas Day.

A day out in the orchards is guaranteed to work up an appetite. Look no further than the De Krans Deli and Bistro, situated at the farm, and home to a selection of delicious country cuisine. You can choose to sit indoors or outside in the shade of the trellised Hanepoot vineyard. There is also a playground for children, making De Krans a wonderful place for the whole family to visit this summer.

De Krans is also home to a range of superb wines and port-style wines and your visit won’t be complete without sampling some of these award-winning wines. This includes the Cape Vintage Reserve 2014, a Veritas Awards Double Gold medal winner in 2017, as well as the Tritonia Red 2015, which won the trophy for the Best Non-Bordeaux Red Blend at the 2017 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Both the Premium White Moscato Perlé 2017, as well as the recently released Premium Red Moscato Perlé 2017, will be available for tasting. The entire range of De Krans ports and wines can be purchased directly from the cellar during this time. Should you not be able to make the trip to Calitzdorp, the wines are available to order online at De Krans, or from many retail outlets nationwide. For more information contact the farm on 044 213 3314, or email at dekrans@mweb.co.za.

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Diners Club 2017 Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year winners: Christiaan Groenewald (Eagle’s Cliff Wines) and Wade Roger-Lund (Jordan Estate).

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Diners Club Winemaker and Young winemaker of the year awards 2017

The winners of the 2017 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year Awards were announced at a black-tie gala dinner at La Residence Hotel in Franschhoek on Saturday 25 November, with Christiaan Groenewald (Eagle’s Cliff Wines) and Wade Roger-Lund (Jordan Estate) claiming top honours respectively.

This year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (Pinotage category), Christiaan Groenewald, delighted the judges with his Eagle’s Cliff Pinotage 2017. This is the second time he has been honoured with this distinguished accolade, having won Winemaker of the Year in 2013 for his Arendskloof Voetspore Tannat Syrah 2011 (Non-Bordeaux Red Blends category). Christiaan is one of only five winemakers to have won this award twice.

The 2017 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year, Wade Roger-Lund, received his award for the Jordan Blanc de Blancs Méthode Cap Classique 2015 (White Wines category).

The Winemaker of the Year is in its 37th year, while the Young Winemaker has been running for 17 years. These are by far the most prestigious awards on the South African wine calendar. The competition affords all winemakers a shot at the sought-after title since entries are accepted from a wide spectrum of producers and are free of charge.

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