A Kenton wine festival with a Karoo flavour

The Karoo Wine Club, organisers of the famous Stoep Tasting Wine Weekend in Graaff-Reinet and Nieu Bethesda are going coastal.

WINE TO COME: Gabrielskloof is one of the estates that will be at the Great Kenton Wine Festival. The harvest is in mid-swing, as seen in this photo taken this month

With Kenton/Bushman’s roots, the organisers are keen to bring a similar wine infused, tourism booster to the barefoot capital.

The Great Kenton Wine Festival was formalised in September 2020, when representatives of the Karoo Wine Club met with local Rotarians and business leaders to discuss the concept of bringing a wine tourism event to the Kenton/Bushman’s area in these tough economic times.

The basic model behind all of the Karoo Wine Clubs events is “mutual profit motive”, whereby any approved local club, society or business that gets involved in their functions, festivals and events, stands to benefit if they are prepared to muck in and get involved and share in the spirit of the event.  And by “spirit of the event” they mean bringing new money into the region and keeping it there, in order to boost the local economy and labour market.

The Great Kenton Wine Festival 2021 is a small “tester” weekend to determine if such a weekend is feasible and beneficial to the Kenton/Bushman’s community as an annual tourism event during the traditional off season,” said Rose Wright of the Karoo Wine Club.

“If it works, and the community benefits, we will certainly look at making it an annual event that could rival our famous Stoep Tasting Wine Weekend in the Karoo.”

Kenton Rotary member Justin Wilmot said: “The local economy is really taking strain due to the seasonal nature of our tourism market as well as the horrendous impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. Teaming up with the great and experienced team at the Karoo Wine Club to bring much needed tourism to our region over a glass or two of wine is a fantastic idea.”

Louis Hattingh, director of local projects of the Kenton Chamber of Business, said: “The very basic idea is for the KWC to invite 11 of the finest wine estates and producers in SA to Kenton for the long weekend of March 19-22, for a Sunshine Coast inspired weekend wine tasting at the Kenton Bowls and Diaz Angling clubs.  While they are here, the local restaurants, clubs and societies team up with them and plan a whole weekend of bespoke Covid-friendly, wine-infused special dinners and events and functions around them.

“And boy, have the local businesses jumped at the opportunity and come up with some of the most amazing ideas and experiences,” he added.

Business owner Annie McInnes said: “The whole weekend is totally local business focused and with the exception of the wineries, who are the drawcard, only local Kenton/Bushman’s area entrepreneurs and businesses may participate, this to ensure that the bulk of the revenue generated by this weekend stays in the local economy.”

With tickets to the Great Kenton Wine Festival already almost sold out, organisers are aiming that the event becomes a major tourist attraction for the region in years to come.

Info and bookings at www.stoeptasting.co.za

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