Our family joined the festivities at the 2019 Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival and we are now officially hooked on Elgin!
As an avid travel and tourism junkie, I can’t believe I didn’t realise just how much this magnificent little region offers besides all those luscious apples that we and the rest of the world munch through. Sharing is caring and I can’t wait to let the old cat out the bag with our discoveries!
What Is Elgin Cool Fest?
Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival is a collaboration between the region’s wineries (yes…Elgin has lots of glorious wineries) where they throw open their doors and showcase their unique wines and farms whilst also treating guests to delicious food, music, entertainment and tonnes for the kids to enjoy. It’s over 2 days and you can purchase a day or weekend pass. Kids under 18 accompanying an adult attend free!
Think balmy autumn sun with wine tasting, cellar tours, food trucks, picnics, pony rides, farm animals, nature walks, arts and crafts, gift fairs and more.
Why Is Elgin Different?
We’re spoilt for choice in the Western Cape when it comes to wine regions so why is Elgin special you may ask? A few reasons actually:
- High altitude and cool climate delays grape ripening producing crisp and unique flavour packed wines.
- It’s like a secret corner a little off the beaten track yet less than an hour from Cape Town.
- Apart from festival weekend excitement, the estates offer a slow vibe and aren’t as busy as other areas.
- You chat to the owners at most of the estates giving you the feeling of arriving as a stranger but leaving as a friend whilst discovering their interesting stories.
The festival itself is the perfect time to visit because with Elgin’s endless fruit trees, oak trees and vineyards, the autumn atmosphere is vibrant with colourful leaves and ripe apples. It feels like the beautiful autumn you get overseas. I don’t doubt that spring is also spectacular with blossoms.
Our Elgin Cool Fest Experience
13 Estates participated in the 2019 Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival and I went online ahead of time to take a peak at their event programme so I could pick places to please all family members and to make sure we got the most out of our day!
The festival is so family friendly that many places permit 4 legged kids too. With my 3 (mostly human) kids we don’t have dogs as enough is enough! I prefer the serene energy of cats but let’s not get off topic here.
Your starting point is the central Elgin Railway Market which is a destination in itself. Collect your wristband, wine glass and map. If you didn’t pre-book tickets online, you can also purchase here. Then you’re off to taste your way through some seriously cool wine!
Elgin Cool Fest encourages responsible drinking and free shuttles were available to take you between estates. Appletiser dished out freebies to designated drivers which is a great gesture.
Charles Fox MCC
I decided to start the morning in style with a visit to Charles Fox, home of exquisite MCC. We soaked in breathtaking views on the balcony whilst sipping their elegant and lively bubbly. The kids ran free on the huge lawn and drained energy on the jungle gym. Charles’ wife Zelda conducted a little underground cellar tour which was fascinating. She went out of her way to explain the processes in kid friendly terms and the kids loved it! After a delicious pancake from the food truck it was time to press on despite the temptation to lounge in the glorious morning sun!
Oh did Oneiric (pronounced Oh!-ne-rik) live up to its name which roughly translates to “dream”. A little winding drive takes you to this spectacular hidden gem. The kids blew some tooth mouse money on candyfloss (the irony is not lost here) at the gift fair and then we caught our breath with cappuccinos for adults and ice lollies for the kids on the pretty patio.
It was here I bumped into Shan Pascall, daughter of the owner. She manages all sorts of farm aspects. She’s an absolute delight and took time to stroll with us explaining the family story about Oneiric. The kids were thrilled to pluck a couple of juicy ripe apples from the orchard and we met social butterfly and snack begger, Bailey the dog.
Shan’s brother Blaize, took us through a tasting of a couple of their wines. Oneiric stands out with both great wine and unique labelling. Shaking things up though, is their rosé which is not only a superb premium wine but presented in a magnificent bottle that you will certainly save!
Oak Valley Wines
Oak Valley Wines was a chill out stop where we actually just sat around on the lush lawns for a while listening to live music and soaking in super laidback and mellow vibes. The kids had a blast climbing and exploring around the huge oak trees.
Time was running short and we squeezed in Elgin Vintners. The last treat of the day was a pony ride in the meadow for the kids which sealed off their festival fun. I enjoyed one last tasting where the sauvignon blanc stood out with it’s crisp and fruity complexity. The garden atmosphere was very chilled with live music filling the air and we felt super content.
Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival, you have opened Pandora’s Box for us with wonderful new experiences in a region that we now can’t wait to visit again!
- Preview the programme to pre-plan a bit.
- If you’ve got kids, take it slowly and don’t try to do it all in 1 day! Pick a few places or stay over and buy a weekend pass.
- Click here for more Elgin Cool Fest info.
- Visit the Elgin Grabouw Tourism website to discover Elgin Magic!
Thank you Elgin Cool Fest for hosting our family!
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