• Pippa Pringle
Franschhoek festival spokesperson
+27 21 851 5193 or +27 82 859 7740
• Wine route celebrates 40 years
• SA wine farms invest in biodiversity
• Soweto wine fest set for record crowd
• SA, France toast to wine exchange
• SA’s first wine tourism exhibition
The Western Cape town of Franschhoek will host the fifth “The Magic of Bubbles” Cap Classique and Champagne Festival this summer.
The event, which takes place from 2 to 4 December, will showcase some of South Africa’s best Cap Classiques as well as some of France’s famous champagnes.
According to festival spokesperson Pippa Pringle, the reason the festival particularly highlights Cap Classique is because it is a uniquely South African varietal of sparkling wine that originates from Franschhoek.
The inclusion of French champagnes is a tribute to the town’s Huguenot roots.
“This is to show Franschhoek’s French heritage because this was where the French Huguenots settled when they came to South Africa,” said Pringle.
Billecart Salmon, Tribaut and Veuve Clicquot will represent of the French champagne industry.
A sophisticated and intimate affair
Since its inception, the festival has been an intimate affair that caters for those who enjoy lifestyle events.
“The typical festival-goer is a sophisticated mover and shaker who likes the finer things in life,” said Pringle.
She said this year’s theme carries a hint the recent British royal wedding as festival-goers are encouraged to emulate wedding guests by donning their finest hats. The best dressed couple for each day will receive a prize.
“We are encouraging people to dress to the nines,” said Pringle.
Though the event is open to all, its ticket price of R180 (US$23) per person is indicative of its target market – individuals from the middle and upper classes who are 25 years of age and older.
Pringle said organisers are expecting up to 1 000 visitors this year, the same number as previous festivals.
She added that the opening day attracts mostly Franschhoek locals. However, she said visitors from as far as Johannesburg are expected to make up the rest of the numbers on the final two days.
Attendees will be surrounded by history as the festival hub will be situated on the lawns around the town’s famous French Huguenot Monument.
South Africa’s food and wine capital
Some of Franschhoek’s finest restaurants will also be given the opportunity to serve up a feast.
According to Pringle, the town, with its award-winning restaurants, is considered to be the gourmet capital of South Africa. According to Wine magazine, at least eight of South Africa’s top 100 restaurants are in Franschhoek.
Le Quartier Français, which currently occupies 36th place on the latest San Pellegrino annual list of the world’s top 100 restaurants, will open its doors to festival-goers. The restaurant was also voted the best in the Middle East and Africa category. It serves all its dishes with wines from Franschhoek.
Nestling in the mountain range which bears its name, Franschhoek is situated in the Western Cape province about 75 kilometres from Cape Town.
The town’s name is Afrikaans, meaning “French corner”.
In 1688, the occupying Dutch government gave a parcel of land, known then as Olifantshoek, to 176 French Huguenot refugees.
It later changed to Le Coin Français, until it eventually took on the name that we know today.