PICS: The world's longest wine route's harvest season kicks off

2016-02-29 10:00 - Louzel Lombard
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(Louzel Lombard)

Cape Town - Did you know South Africa has the longest continuous wine route in the world, stretching from the Cape winelands along Route 62 all the way to the Klein Karoo. 

Not only is this beautiful route one of South Africa's most popular tourist attractions, it is also a pillar in the South African agricultural industry - providing export quality produce that fuels SA's economy. 

For this annual economic injection to thrive, hard work needs to be done. 

While the fine art of wine making plays a major role in how the final product is reached, it all starts with the farming, harvesting and processing of the vines first. 

And this weekend, many of the Cape Winelands' working winefarms officially kicked off their 2016 harvesting season. 

From Darling in the West Coast to the mountainous Franschhoek valleys, the harvest season was kicked off in high spirits with much celebration. 

Visitors to some of the wine farms - like Vrede and Lust in Franschhoek region, the Durbanville wine valley and Darling Cellars along the West Coast - got an insight into what goes into the farming processes that finally enables you to enjoy a bottle of wine. 

The farms combine the start of harvest with a festival for visitors, to give them a behind-the-scenes look at their favourite glasses of vino. 

While it is great fun to handpick bunches of grapes from the vine, before stomping and pressing the grapes to extract juice, it is clear that this season means hard labour for farmers and farm workers. 

To add to the hard work and pressure, harvesting should ideally only take place within a certain window period to ensure the best quality grapes with just the right amount of sugar content to facilitate the alcohol processes. 

Take a look at some of the Start of Harvest season festivities that took place this weekend: 

@vredeenlust cellar tour. Malbec is so popular yearly vintage sold out in 8mths according to winemaker Susan Erasmus

A video posted by Traveller24_SA (@traveller24_sa) on

Here are FOUR more Start of Harvest season celebrations to look forward to:

Federweisser Festival 
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

A photo posted by Tia Butts (@wineinkbytia) on

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