The coastal town of Knysna is famous for its Oyster Festival, but if you find wine a bigger turn on, don’t miss the annual Knysna Wine Festival. The weekend of July 4-5 will see close to 50 of South Africa’s fine wine estates offering tastings and special discounts and giving you chance to learn more about their luscious labels.
Knysna Wine Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and coincides with the Oyster Festival. It runs from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm on both days, with R130 buying you a tasting glass, a wine guide and unlimited samples. The festival weekend is enormously popular, so be sure to book your accommodation ahead of time. The Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa on Thesen Island is the perfect base, just a short stroll across a bridge from the mainland, yet far enough away to offer a quiet haven from the crowds. If you can’t make it to the wine fair, don’t worry – the area around Knysna boasts plenty of vineyards just waiting to be explored.
At last count, there were close to 30. You can enjoy many of them without even leaving the Turbine since our carefully curated walk-in wine cellar offers a selection to rival any wine fair! While the mountains behind Cape Town are South Africa’s most famous wine region, the Garden Route has quietly cultivated a reputation for excellent cool-climate wines, with Plettenberg Bay classified as a Wine of Origin region. Why not organise a trip to the vineyards through the Turbine’s activity desk, to sensibly leave the driving to somebody else! Here are some local highlights:
– Bramon Wine Estate was one of the pioneering vineyards in the area, set on The Crags, an area of gentle slopes and cool sea breezes ideal for Sauvignon Blanc. It’s well known for award-winning Methode Cap Classique bubbly and for Vukani Wines, its empowerment vehicle for the local community. Profits from Vukani wines go towards training and developing local farmers in viniculture.
– Packwood Wine & Country Estate is an award-winning vineyard between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Enjoy matching its wines and bubbly with cheese platters from the estate dairy.
– Luka Wines is relatively new, celebrating its first harvest in 2011. The wines immediately started winning awards, earning a Veritas Bronze in 2011 and a Michelangelo International Silver Award in 2012.
– Plettenvale Wines also had its first harvest in 2011, and produces a memorable Brut Rosé Methode Cap Classique from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Visitors can watch the magic happening in its cellar.
– Herod Wines is 68km from Knysna on a north-facing slope of Cradock Peak in the Outeniqua Mountains. The vines grow at an altitude of 650m to 700m, where mists, frosts, occasional snow, year-round rain and cool summer winds create a long ripening season for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
If you enjoy golf as much as wine, drop in on The Goose Wine Estate, owned by former US Open Champion Retief ‘The Goose’ Goosen. This high altitude vineyard on the Outeniqua Mountains produces cool climate sophisticated Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blancs.
The 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa is situated on Thesen Island in Knysna. The intuitive architecture pays homage to the old power station it once was. Accommodation comprises luxury hotel rooms, standard rooms, a honeymoon suite and one Water Club self-catering apartment. Group bookings are welcome for weddings, small conferences and events. The 24 room hotel is also home to the Island Café Restaurant with tables overlooking the canals, pool deck or nestled between the original refurbished turbines. The Tapas Restaurant & Bar Deck also offers a la carte menus and lagoon sunset views. The Amani Spa has a wide range of treatments for hotel guests and the Turbine Water Club offers many options for water-based activities.