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Words: Richard Holmes | Images: Supplied

The winter months have arrived, which in the Western Cape means it’s time for fantastic wine and spirits festivals. We bring you our top picks for the coming weeks.

Wade Bales Wine & Malt Whisky Affair, 17 and 18 May

With cold fronts rolling across the Cape, a wee dram of uisge beatha is called for, and the annual Wine & Malt Whisky A­ffair o­ffers a taste of dozens of single malts and blends from across the world. Alongside the superb whisky o­ffering, you can taste from a range of the Cape’s top wine producers, with a generous spread of gourmet cheeses, deli snacks and artisanal breads on o­ffer. Listen out for the “half-time” bell, when rare and limited-edition whiskies and wines will be available to taste for a 15-minute window. The event takes place at the stylish African Pride 15 on Orange Hotel, so it’s worth hauling out your glad rags. Tickets are available online through

Wacky Wine Weekend, 31 May to 3 June

This popular annual event returns for the 15th consecutive year, with a four-day programme of activities that takes in the food, wine and culture of the Robertson Valley. More than 20 wine estates across the region have put together an exciting range of events, from barrel tastings in the cellar to boat cruises and distillery tours. There’s even a mechanical rodeo bull bucking away at Ashton Winery, if you’ve imbibed enough courage! Punters certainly won’t go hungry either, with everything from bunny chow stalls to riverside braais on the menu.

Christmas in winter, 23 and 24 June

Tulbagh celebrates the snow-capped mountains with its annual Christmas festival. Alongside wine tasting at the valley’s various cellars, it’s a family-friendly a­ air as Father Christmas pays a visit to historic Church Street, craft markets sell festive goodies and there’s everything from pony rides to tractor trips to keep the young ones entertained. 

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