If you’re looking for a fun and tasty wine and food experience next weekend, skip Stellenbosch and Paarl. Instead, embrace autumn at the Elgin Cool Wine and Country Food Festival, which will be held from Saturday, 30 April to Sunday, 1 May.

 Located 45 minutes south of Cape Town, the cool climate of the Elgin Valley is perfect for growing produce from pears to apples to grapes.

The grapes are what are being celebrated at this mid-autumnal wine fest, but visitors will also be able to experience entertainment and home grown and homemade dishes at each of the participating wine farms. Hungry wine-lovers can enjoy free-range meat and fresh veggies and cheese, sponsored by Elgin Free Range Chickens, which will supply all of the chicken served during the event.

Sixteen wineries spread throughout the Elgin Valley will participate in the event, which will be held from 09h00 to 17h00 each day. Visitors will be able to enjoy outdoor activities and live entertainment and appreciate the natural beauty of the vineyards.

Early bird tickets to the festival cost R120 per person (only for those over 18, of course) and can be bought online. The cost covers a tasting glass, festival programme, access to farms, and live entertainment. Ticket-holders will be able to taste a selection of three wines at any of the participating wine estates.

Food comes at additional cost, but is guaranteed to be worth it: various wineries will have pop-up kitchens, food trucks and restaurants serving a variety of foods. Highlights include a cheese and Elgin Free Range Chicken Liver Paté platter for two at Charles Fox Wines, Elgin Free Range Chicken prego rolls with homemade harissa at Iona and fragrant Cape Malay Elgin Free Range Chicken curry at Oak Valley. Check out the menus at various wineries here.

Any chicken dish is guaranteed to be fresh and tasty, as the Elgin Valley’s very own free range chicken operation is the largest independent free range chicken supplier in South Africa. Elgin Free Range Chickens are allowed to experience the outdoors and move around unfettered during the course of their lives.

Elgin Free Range Chickens does not administer AGPs (antibiotic growth promoters) to their chickens, and chickens are never fed routine antibiotics. Chickens are fed high-quality, all-grain feed free from fish meal and animal by-products. No forms of poultry meal, including blood, feathers and dead birds, are permitted in their dietary intake. Together with raising chickens in a stress-free environment, these measures mean the end product is healthier and tastier.

Besides a variety of wines and foods, visitors will be able to experience live entertainment from groups such as The Professors, Zenn Viljoen and the Tequila Band whose genres range from rock to blues. At some wineries, guests will be able to participate in tours and explanations of how the wine-making process works. For children, there are a range of activities, including tractor rides, jumping castles, and face painting. Children accompanied by an adult can enter for free.

According to the festival website, depending on availability, tickets may be purchased on the day-of at the festival officer at the Peregrine Farm Stall for R140. Guests are advised to peruse the website and pre-book activities and meals, as space is limited.

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