Annual harvest parade celebrated in City of Oaks

A colourful community and its chariots celebrate winemaking camaraderie

The oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch will be invaded by a colourful community of winemaking charismatics on uniquely adorned “chariots” on Saturday January 28.

The annual harvest parade comes to town to usher in the grape harvest season with convivial cheer.

The Stellenbosch Harvest Parade also pays homage to the people behind this labour of love and especially the invaluable contribution of South Africa’s farmworkers.

The procession traditionally includes merry marching bands, inimitable Cape minstrels, drum majorettes and a flotilla of bold and beautifully decorated tractors, trailer and trucks.

The troupe represents participating wineries and will meander its way through the streets to bring unique Stellenbosch gees (spirit) to the season’s toil.

“Our harvest parade recognises the work of thousands of men and women responsible for sustaining the wine industry in Stellenbosch,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager, Elmarie Rabe. “At the same time, it marks the start of the grape-picking season’s hustle-and-bustle that will again yield the award-winning wines responsible for making Stellenbosch world-renowned.

“Just to see the colourful convoy of big smiles and bright tractors gives one goose-bumps. And it makes me tremendously proud to be part of such a wonderful winemaking region and heart-warming tradition,” she adds.

The Stellenbosch Harvest Parade is a celebration of the very essence of a vibrant and eclectic “Stellies” and should not be missed. Among the participating wineries that will set out to paint the town red are Simonsig, Lanzerac, Waterford, L’Avenir, Eikendal, Alto, Neethlinghof, Kleine Zalze Wines, Hill & Dale and Delheim.

“Show me a product made by many people’s hard work, sweat and knowledge that can be enjoyed now or after a decade among friends and family, and still leave one amazed by the flavours and taste,” says Delheim winemaker, Altus Treurnicht.

“For me, the harvest parade highlights how the making of wine begins long before fruit arrives at the cellar and wine goes into the bottle. The occasion reflects the vibe and excitement for harvest and what the new vintage will bring us.”

The Stellenbosch Harvest Parade, presented in conjunction with the Stellenbosch Municipality, gets underway on Saturday January 28, from 9am.

It will be followed by a harvest blessing ceremony at the town hall in Plein Street, at 10am. It signals the start of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, which takes place at the Coetzenburg sports grounds from Friday to Sunday, February 24 to 26.

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