• Certain stereotypes about small towns ring true. An easy rhythm, a close connection to nature, and the opportunity to unplug from the frenetic pace of city life. In Prince Albert, one of the Karoo’s best-loved destinations, another defining characteristic is its sense of community. Casual stoep ‘kuiers’, a spontaneous braai with friends, sundowners in the bush. These are rituals the people of Prince Albert know well – And everyone is welcome!

    Add to this its reputation for excellent, authentic food and produce spectacular scenery, and a weighty creative and cultural community and you have a foolproof recipe for an idyllic country getaway. Just ask the Wall Street Journal, which recently named it “One of SA’s Coolest Destinations’.

    It’s here that the inaugural Vino Camino, a walking wine festival for both connoisseurs and casual appreciators alike, will take place from the 16th to the 17th of August.


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    For all its abundant appeal, this out-of-the-way town is as unpretentious a place as you can hope to find yourself – a crucial factor when the idea for the festival was birthed. The brainchild of Jeremy Freemantle, and Paul and Karin Henriques, the Vino Camino is the culmination of years spent in hospitality and events, a shared passion for good wine, good food, and good company, and a belief that wine should be accessible, and enjoyable. Inspired by this adventurous spirit and a sense of discovery, the two-day festival is designed to bring together vinophiles and lovers of the good life against the backdrop of the Swartberg mountains to share in the conviviality and sense of community synonymous with this charming village.

    “A Camino is a journey and for many of us, the process of learning about and loving wine, and understanding its ancient mysteries and alchemy is a life-long journey. This idea inspired the festival – it’s an exploration. Of our beautiful town, and the superb wines of South Africa,” says Jeremy

    A restaurateur (he runs the eponymous Jeremy’s on Church Street) and a resident of Prince Albert for the last 16 years, Jeremy Freemantle has embraced every aspect of Karoo life. He finds enormous joy in bringing people together – around a table, or a fire – enjoying good wine, which he’s as passionate about as he is about the culinary arts.

    His partner in the venture Karin, new to Prince Albert, has extensive experience in the corporate and creative worlds of Johannesburg and Cape Town over the last 30 years, making her a natural planner and people’s person. Her goal is to make sure the event is unpretentious and inclusive – a space where the wine informed, and wine curious can equally enjoy and explore some of South Africa’s best wines – from heavy hitters to exciting up-and-coming or niche brands.

    When it came time to select producers, they found themselves spoilt for choice. Between longstanding relationships built over the years and the sheer variety of excellent makers in South Africa – the standard is high. “We have assembled a group of passionate and adventurous artisans and alchemists, driven by their own personal ‘Camino’ to find that Holy Grail of vinum excellentia,” says Jeremy.

    An award-winning lineup awaits festival attendees – you can expect big names like Adie Badenhorst from AA Badenhorst Wines, Niels Verburg of Luddite, Peter-Allan Finlayson of Crystallum, Weather Report’s Christopher Keet, Carl Schultz from Hartenberg, and Rijk Melck of Muratie.

    Adding to the illustriousness of the lineup are Jaco Brand from Arbeidsgenot, Rikus Neethling from Bizoe Wines, Eagle’s Nest’s Craig Barnard, Janno Briers-Louw from Eenzaamheid, Anmar van Niekerk of Gabrielskloof. Melissa Nelsen from Genevieve; Alex Starey from Keermont, Carsten Migliarina of Migliarina, Natasha Williams with Hasher Family Wines, Adrian Strydom of Badger & Mountain, Peter Bayly Wines represented by Peter Bayly, Johan Kruger and Kruger Family Wine, Meyer Joubert from Joubert-Tredauw, and Emma and Willie Dreyer of Leeuwenkuil Wines.

    All told, 32 producers from various regions of the Western Cape will be on hand to share their selections. With stations and tastings spread out over various venues along the main road of the town – from studios to restaurants and old milking sheds – the event encourages visitors to stroll from place to place, enjoying the winter sunshine, taking in the surroundings, and leisurely trying a variety of wines.

    Visitors will be able to buy a weekend tasting ‘passport’ which entitles them to two days of meeting winemakers and tasting wine. Tickets can be purchased for R555 on Quicket

    The town’s restaurants will all be open for business, with surprise pop-up eateries and food trucks adding some additional culinary variety on the weekend.

    Check any special events and offerings directly with the venues you might want to book for.


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