Bien donne Cheese and Wine Festival: April
This is my favourate SA festival of all! Unfortunately it only happens once every year at the end of April. It all happens at Bien donne, Franschoek, about a 30 min drive away.
Here, you will find the biggest variety of SA wines and cheeses and other items from olives to goatsmilk fudge! It is an outdoor festival, so be sure to check the weather forecast to help you decide which day to attend. There is a limited amount of tickets, all available from CompuTicket at R75 (10 US$) per person. There is also a list of tips on the cheese festival website (given below). So if you are currently visiting SA, you simply have to go have a look!!!
Very pretty, but not very much character
Well, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with Stellenbosch. We arrived after a wonderful week in with Cedarberg mountains and the wild Atlantic coast, so maybe it was just getting back into 'tourist land' again which was off-putting. Tour buses everywhere, souvenir shops, and crowds of tourists jamming into the 2 places on the 'must see' list.
We stayed just outside town, on a small vineyward, which should have been idyllic - if it hadn't been for the main dual carraigeway to Cape Town roaring past! We drove round to find interesting vineyards to visit, and again many of them were crammed with tour buses. I advise against Speir unless you want a totally sanitised 'African' experience on a vineyard with a hotel, five restaurants, a "pub" and its own train station.
My advice is, go if you are really interested in wine and have the patience (or luck) to search out the real South African characters tucked away out of sight of the coaches.