The third Sasfin Plett Wine and Bubbly Festival celebrated the area's finest selection of wine and bubbly this past weekend.
PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - The third Sasfin Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival last weekend has by far been the most successful yet, with attendance alone almost doubling.
Plett Tourism spokesperson Patty Butterworth said unofficial figures suggest that about 1 500 festinos – from around the country and even abroad – attended the festival this year.
“Last year we had between 800 and 900 visitors over the two-day period, and this year the first day alone we saw about a thousand festivalgoers enjoy the wine, bubbly, food and entertainment on offer,” Butterworth said.
She added that even the food stalls had to replenish stocks a few times after running out of food due to the large crowds, and the festival grounds on Central Beach remained open until later this year as well. “On Saturday we only wrapped up at about 21:30 and on Sunday at about 20:30.”
The festival – which celebrates the burgeoning local wine industry where award-winning wines are being produced – was established to leverage an existing and growing sector.
Since the first vines were planted more than 10 years ago, the area has established a flourishing wine industry with 16 vineyards producing about 200 000 bottles of wine every year.
The festival this year took place from October 8 to 9, and new on the programme was a wine theatre, with a series of guest speakers in a small, intimate theatre to create a wine aficionado experience.
Festivalgoers also enjoyed tasting wines from 10 local vineyards and experienced local foodies’ creations, from artisan cheeses and charcuterie and breads to sushi, savouries and succulent coastal oysters.
Festinos also received the opportunity to be the first to taste three new wines produced locally, including Bitou Vinyards’ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Lodestone’s new Méthode Cap Classic Stone Chat and That Place’s first Pinot Noir.
“The oysters were also fantastic. Robberg Seafood provided them and they could hardly keep up with demand.”
Butterworth said that the festival also attracted several high-profile guests including Bitou mayor Peter Lobese, who successfully sabraged a bottle of bubbly with local winemaker Anton Smal. Among other guests were wine writers, popular bloggers and even well-known models including Dave Kabamba.
Another well-known guest was legendary Durban surfer and campaigner for an ecofriendly surfing industry, John McCarthy.
He not only presented “breathing workshops” for underprivileged children in Bitou, but Sasfin also donated two of McCarthy’s custom-made ecofriendly boards to auction off at the festival to raise funds for local nonprofit organisation Adopt a Swimmer. The organisation teaches underprivileged children to swim.
Butterworth said that more than R25 000 was raised through the auction and that Sasfin had offered to match the amount so Adopt a Swimmer would receive a boost of more than R50 000.
Butterworth said there was also a good mix in visitors. “There were quite a few from Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas. There were also people from Pretoria, Johannesburg and even Cape Town. A tour bus also stopped by and overseas tourists decided to join in the festivities.”
She added that most visitors not only came through for the day, but many spent the weekend in Plett, which led to a bigger boost for the local economy.
Butterworth said that the weather also played along this year, which led to many of the visitors enjoying the town’s beautiful golden beaches too.
On the entertainment front the festival was also a massive success, with SA rock legend Arno Carstens and Ben Day and the Concrete Lions attracting large crowds.