Cape Town - Traveller24 visited Vrede en Lust, for the 2016 Harvest Festival and with the backdrop of the Simonsberg Mountains, not even the traces of the recent fires could detract from the gorgeous beauty of the estate set between Paarl and Franschhoek.
But through the festivities, which included hand-picking the grapes we would later stomp to a pulp in a harvest festival tradition, it is clear to see that Vrede en Lust has been pioneering away to run its operation in a sustainable and off the grid manner.
In 2012, the wine estate made the move to solar.
According to Etienne Buys, Manager Partner for Vrede en Lust, the estate commissioned MLT Drives Ltd to install a 218 KWp solar power plant at an estimate cost of R18-million. With 15% of the panels installed on the winery roof and the rest running along Vrede en Lust’s border with Plaisir de Merle, it sees a 60% saving of its energy uses, and has reduced the estate's carbon footprint by 400tons per year.
Buys explained that it will take about 7 years to fully recover the costs.
WATCH: Vrede en Lust harvest festival 2016 - vinified by the sun
Vrede en Lust is also an exceptionally popular wedding destination, so much so that it underwent a 6-month construction project - adding 10 brand new, modern and functional Vineyard Suites to its accommodation offering - which includes a Manor house more than 300 years old.
Newly added to the estate during the refurbishment, is a conference venue and two brand new ceremonial and pre-drinks formal gardens to the estate. The Wedding venue and Vineyard Suites re-opened November 2015 and guests can expect to pay R2 500 per room per night for a stay in the new suites, which offer magical views of the winelands, with a number of eco-friendly activities such as trail-running and mountain biking on hand.
If you missed this year's event, you can save the date for 11 March 2017, or check out one of the following:
Where: Hazendal Wine Estate
When: 6 March 2016
Eikendal Weintaufe Harvest Celebration
Where: Eikendal Wine
When: 6 March 2016
Muratie Harvest Festival
Where: Muratie Estate
When: 12 March 2016
Hands-on Harvest Festival
Where: Robertson Wine Valley
When: until 27 March 2016
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Traveller24 Editor Selene Brophy was hosted by Vrede en Lust for the Harvest Festival, including accommodation and meals.