There are many places around the world that are famous for wine; from the vineyards in the French countryside to the sun-drenched hills of California. One of the world’s most renowned wine destinations is the Cape Winelands. Throughout the year, we get to celebrate all things wine-related! There are a number of dates set aside to celebrate the wonders and varieties of wine across the globe. In honour of Cape Town’s link to wine - and for a little extra reason to do some celebrating - we have put together a list of international wine holidays to add to your calendar!
If you’re based in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, you could be lucky enough to spend one of these fun days visiting one of the region's award-winning wine farms! Take your pick from the incredible Cape Winelands, the historic Constantia Wine Route and the stunning West Coast Wine Routes.
At the moment, we may be having a bit of a dry spell in South Africa due to level 4 alcohol restrictions but they won’t last forever! Take a look at the list below and prepare to celebrate sometime soon in the future.
Image courtesy of Groot Constantia
January Wine Dates
10 January - Champagne and French Fry Day
While this may sound like a strange combination, champagne and French fries go together surprisingly well! Kick the year off with this interesting duo.
February Wine Dates
14 February - Wine-Lover’s Day
Wine and Valentine’s Day are a dynamic pair! The most romantic day of the year is also WineLover’s Day. Grab a bottle of your favourite wine and share it with someone you love.
16 February - International Syrah Day
Syrah, also known as shiraz, is widely grown and produced in South Africa. This full-bodied wine pairs well with grilled meat, such as steak or pork, as well as black olives and hard cheeses.
18 February - Global Drink Wine Day
Need an excuse to enjoy a glass or two of your favourite wine? The 18th of February is it! Join in the worldwide celebration of Global Drink Wine Day.
Last Saturday in February - Open that Bottle Night
Another great reason to uncork a great vintage! On the last Saturday of February, it’s time to open a bottle. Make an event of things and share with friends and family.
March Wine Dates
3 March - Mulled Wine Day
Whether you enjoy the alcoholic or non-alcoholic version, mulled wine is a fantastic way to warm up in the colder weather (in South Africa, this will usually be in the winter season from June - August). Mulled wine is usually made with red wine and a variety of spices.
13 March - Riesling Day
Riesling originated in the Rhine Valley of Germany and is an aromatic white wine. Spend Riesling Day pairing a crisp glass of riesling with something tasty! Riesling is incredibly versatile and pairs well with spicy dishes.
April Wine Dates
17 April - World Malbec Day
Argentina is famous for its malbec! This is a robust, full-bodied red wine. It is a member of the Bordeaux blend of varietals and it is grown in a number of spots around the world including a few places in South Africa.
30 April - International Viognier Day
This full-bodied white wine originated in France but fear-not! Fantastic viognier (pronounced “vee-own-yay”) is produced in South Africa. Celebrate International Viognier Day with a glass or two at a wine farm on the West Coast, in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl or Constantia!
May Wine Dates
First Friday in May - International Sauvignon Blanc Day
Even wine novices will be familiar with Sauvignon Blanc which is famous world-wide! Always celebrated on the first Friday in May, make it a special day by enjoying a glass with something mouthwatering. Sauvignon blanc pairs well with herby sauces as well as Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.
25 May - National Wine Day
This may technically be a holiday in the USA but that doesn’t mean we can’t share the spirit in South Africa on the day! Get some friends together and enjoy a bottle of two over a lovely picnic or home cooked meal.
Fourth Thursday in May - International Chardonnay Day
Chardonnay is another well-known white wine and is one of the most popular grapes in the world. This medium-bodied wine pairs well with creamy, buttery flavours. Enjoy the oaked or unoaked versions - the choice is all yours on International Chardonnay Day!
June Wine Dates
3 June - International Sommelier Day
Celebrate the knowledgeable minds behind great wine tastings on this day! Sommeliers are trained wine experts who usually work at wine estates and high-end hospitality destinations across the world.
5 June - National Bubbly Day
It’s time to pop open the bubbles! Bubbly is the ultimate celebratory drink. Get in the party mood and enjoy an evening sipping on a glass or two of your favourite type of sparkling wine before dancing the night away.
19 June - Drink Chenin Blanc Day
South African chenin blancs are amongst the finest in the world. This means today is the perfect day to try a few! Make it an adventure and select chenin blancs from wine estates you may not have sampled before.
Fourth Friday in June - National Rosé Day
Another drink that’s great for parties and a relaxing day under the sun! Gather your friends and pop open a bottle of rosé - this is definitely a summer drink!
July Wine Dates
25 July - National Wine & Cheese Day
Wine and cheese - the ultimate pairing! Pick your favourite wine, do some research on what the best cheese pairing is and get ready to treat your taste buds! Alternatively, enjoy a cheese platter at your favourite wine farm.
Fourth Thursday in July - Shiraz Day
Shiraz, also known as syrah, is a bold red wine. This popular variety pairs well with meat. Enjoy a glass with roast or grilled lamb, a hearty beef stew or enjoy a laid-back barbeque!
August Wine Dates
4 August - World White Wine Day
Celebrate all your favourites on World White Wine Day. From chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio to riesling, viognier and moscato - there is something for all kinds of wine lovers to enjoy on this day.
13 August - International Prosecco Day
Another day dedicated to wonderful bubbles! Prosecco is a sparkling white wine from the north of Italy. It’s an excellent drink to enjoy for all kinds of celebrations.
18 August - International Pinot Noir Day
This red wine is complex yet light to taste. Did you know pinot noir is a historic grape and was super popular during the Middle Ages?
28 August - National Red Wine Day
While we celebrated white wine at the beginning of August, the end of the month is red wine's time to shine! Take your pick from merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, malbec and much, much more!
September Wine Days
1 September - Cap Classique Day
The first of September is the time to celebrate a proudly South African wine! Did you know that Method Cap Classique is produced using the same technique used to create champagne? This bubbly is delicious and definitely deserves its own day!
2 September - Cabernet Day
Often known by its nickname “cab sav”, cabernet sauvignon is another highly popular red wine! In fact, it is South Africa’s most widely planted red grape so you are guaranteed to find a wine farm offering an excellent cabernet sauvignon tasting!
October Wine Days
5 - 11 October - International Drink Local Wine Week
This is one of our favourite events on this list! At the beginning of October, it’s time to “support local” and visit local wine farms and estates. We are spoiled for choice in the Western Cape with dozens of award-winning destinations offering incredible wine tasting and dining experiences.
9 October - International Pinotage Day
Another unique South African addition to the list! Pinotage was created in 1925 by South African Professor Abraham Perold (who became known as the “Father of Pinotage”). He created this strong, bold red by crossing pinotage and cinsault grapes. Enjoy a glass today because local is lekker!
Image courtesy of Groot Constantia
November Wine Days
7 November - International Merlot Day
Merlot is a classic red that you will find on wine lists internationally so it definitely deserves its own day! It is one of the most popular reds, just after cabernet sauvignon. It’s dry but also an easy-drink. Enjoy it with beef fillet, blue cheese, gorgonzola and roast chicken. It also pairs well with red berries!
12 November - Wine Tourism Day
Celebrate the beautiful wine-producing regions of the world on Wine Tourism Day. Wine plays a huge role in tourism in South Africa and today is the perfect day to go out and explore some local offerings!
December Wine Days
4 December - Cabernet Franc Day
Enjoy a glass of cabernet franc today to pay tribute to one of the world’s main black grape varieties. It is often used to make merlot and cabernet sauvignon but today, it’s all about ‘franc! Toast to the last international wine day of the year!
20 December - Sangria Day
Last but not least is sangria! Sangria is a punch of sorts made from red wine and chopped fruits, and often a sweetener such as liquor or soda is added. It’s popular in Spain and best enjoyed with tapas under the sun!
Now you have all the dates to diarise, all that is left to do is grab a bottle and get ready to say cheers!