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The Event

 Run with the bull at this year’s Barrels & Beards Harvest Celebration on Saturday, April 21, when this most majestic beast takes centre stage our annual Botrivier “Baard Paartie”. 

The bull referred to here, of course, is the bull in the Bot River Wine Route logo: the link to Bot River’s very foundation. Amongst the Khoisan people, the valley was once called Gouga – the place of cattle; the Dutch made the connection to butter, which led to its modern name. In this sense, the bull represents fertility, virility, leadership and strength. More importantly, it connects the history of all inhabitants of the region for over a 1 000 years; a symbol of the meeting of diverse cultures; and, the sense of place offered in every glass of Bot River wine.

The venue for this year's event is Wildekrans Wine Estate, home of excellent wine and hospitality. The occasion centres around the auction: the sale of exceptional Bot River wines. The auction benefits various school-level educational projects in the region. 

This year guests will be able to feast on the food of the valley with tables brimming with local produce and specialities. 

As for the beards, the tale of how infuriating stubble became tradition begins like most – by chance. The grape harvest waits for no-one – when the fruit is ripe, it must be picked and taken to the cellar. There’s little time for sleep, but it’s a festive time nonetheless as Mother Nature reveals the proof of the preceding season’s work. Time-consuming activities like shaving must take a backseat too, so beards in the vineyards and cellar are not unusual at this time of year.

Some eight years ago, Luddite winemaker Niels Verburg declared a challenge to his colleagues in what might also be known as The Great Bot River Beard-off. The challenge has stuck and become a tradition. Now, the winemakers deliberately undertake a self-imposed shaving ban during harvest in preparation for the annual Beard Parade – a contest of great inconsequence and almighty mirth. Some (gasp!) may even cultivate a particular style for this climax of Barrels & Beards.

“We look forward to the Cut the Bull-theme for Barrel & Beards this year, an event to let your hair down and meet the winemakers of Bot River in one festive location,” says Bot River Wine Route co-ordinator Melissa Nelsen, the bubbly personality behind Genevieve MCC.

Bot River lies a mere one hour’s drive up the N2 highway from Cape Town. A perfect country getaway, the region has long been known for its wine pioneers and Mavericks. There are 13 wine farms, most of them family-owned and run, producing world-class wines. Often underestimated, Bot River is also renowned for its conservation initiatives.

The 2018 Bot River Barrels & Beards will take place at Wildekrans Wine Estate on Saturday, 21 April at 5 pm and tickets cost R450 per adult.

When and where?

Wildekrans Wine Estate
South Africa

Sat 21 Apr 2018 at 5:00 PM (SAST)
Sun 22 Apr 2018 at 1:00 AM (SAST)

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