Over the weekend of Saturday 23 to Sunday 24 April, the historic Groote Post Wine Estate, world-renowned for its award-winning wines, will play host to the first-ever South African Cheese Festival on the West Coast, in the Darling Hills. Outdoor event lovers can look forward to two festive days of pairing Groote Post and neighbouring farms’ wines with an exciting array of cheese, artisanal food, beer, gin and more – even a cheese carving competition and a chance to get to know cows … as Groote Post has a dairy(ng) history!
HOW THE PENTZ FAMILY TURNED MILK INTO WINE
“Celebrating cheese together with wine at Groote Post is like coming full circle,” says the estate’s communication manager, Peter Pentz Jnr. “We are so excited to host this festive pop-up on our farm in partnership with Agri-Expo, the oldest agricultural society in South Africa and organiser of the SA Cheese Festival since 2002. As an agricultural producer with a significant history in the dairy industry, this event lies close to our hearts. In fact, at Groote Post, dairy only made way for wine in 2001.”
“No-one ever told me that they had a great bottle of my milk last night,” is how this bold move is explained by Peter Pentz Snr, dairy farmer of fame and patriarch of Groote Post. The family’s dairy roots go back to 1904, with Pentz Snr starting out as a third-generation dairyman delivering milk door to door by way of electric carts. Ultimately, Pentz Snr was honoured as SA Agricultural Writers National Farmer of the Year in 1998, and the World Dairy Expo’s International Person of the Year in 2001, for his remarkable dairy industry accomplishments.
Today, Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Blend pays tribute to Pentz Snr’s visionary switch from 40 years of dairy farming to producing world-class wine. His son Nick furthers this philosophy of excellence in their vineyards and cellar here in the cool-climate Darling Hills, 6km from the Atlantic Ocean. Pentz Snr’s love for cattle carries on through his prized herd of Angus cattle – a sight to behold at the SA Cheese Festival!
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE GROOTE POST SA CHEESE FESTIVAL
Visitors in the know rave about Groote Post as an off-the-beaten-path Darling destination, just a few gravel kilometres off the West Coast Road, an hour’s easy drive from Cape Town. On top of their wines, guests especially praise the unique country hospitality experienced at the 18th century farm.
“We are getting ready to go big on Groote Post and promise visitors an unforgettable weekend,” says Pentz Jnr. “Come and experience an incredible piece of history, lounge on the lawns with wine and live music and enjoy the views, as the cellar looks out on the beautiful Klawer Valley and the restored Cape Dutch homestead.”
Guests can expect a whole feast of pop-up experiences (full programme available at www.cheesefestival.co.za):
- Cheese it and enjoy it: Enjoy a decadent day of tasting and stock up on quality produce from a hand-picked collection of more than 40 exhibitors offering a mouth-watering variety of artisanal creations, including small cheesemakers’ unique handmade cheeses; “Cape Made: Taste the Alternatives” such as olives, berries, and cherries directly from the farm, as well as fresh oysters, vegan delights, lamb on the spit, pizza, roosterkoek, and much more.
- WineFest, BeerFest, Gin’OClock: Taste and buy delicious wines, craft beers, gins, liqueurs, and spritzers from the region (your entry fee includes an exclusive SA Cheese Festival glass) and put together your own pairings. An exclusive cellar door on the day is the ever-popular Groote Post Limited Release Pinor Noir Rosé, perfect for a fun weekend on the West Coast.
- A feast of live music: Enjoy top artists performing at the Hollard Band Stand, such as Die Heuwels Fantasties (Saturday) and Francois van Coke (Sunday), plus local musicians Dehan Marais, Red Sheep and Jimm Harisson Project (Sunday) throughout the day.
- Travel and taste: Join well-known celeb chefs and winemakers for three Standard Bank Travel & Taste sessions a day, at no extra cost, including chef Tiaan Langenegger of kykNET’s “Tiaan Proe” (daily) and his actor friend Neels van Jaarsveld (Saturday), Ladismith Cheese and Sea Harvest; chef Isabella Niehaus and her famous smoked snoek cheesecake (Sunday) ; as well as the Chenin Blanc Association (Saturday) ; Groote Post winemaker Lukas Wentzel with Kokerboom cheese (Saturday); and Deep South Distillery’s award-winning handcrafted gin (Sunday). (Limited space, arrive early.)
- Carve your heart out: Enter the daily Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition and win big prizes!
- Bring the young ones (children 12 years and under free of charge): Meet the friendly cows and goats at the Afgri Feeds Milk Factory and learn more about these special animals, the most important part of the production line in the art of cheese making. A well-known and enjoyable experience at the annual SA Cheese Festival!
- Make it a West Coast weekend: Book at www.yzerfonteinaccommodation.co.za.
The festival is in fact twice as nice this year, because the SA Cheese Festival also takes place over the long weekend from Saturday 30 April to Monday 2 May at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch.
BUY TICKETS HERE
The festival times are from 10:00 to 18:00 daily. Tickets at R290 p.p. per day (children 12 years and under free of charge) are available at Webtickets (https://bit.ly/SACheeseFest) and Pick n Pay. No tickets will be sold at the gates. A Covid-19 access policy of proof of vaccination, or a negative test result will apply.
The 2022 SA Cheese Festival is supported by platinum partners, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Standard Bank, as well as other partners. For more information, visit www.cheesefestival.co.za, Twitter @SACheeseFest, Facebook @SACheeseFestival or Instagram @sacheesefest, or contact Agri-Expo at tel 021 975 4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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