Yes, February is the month of love. In sunny South Africa, and indeed the world over, it is also the month of wine. A more delicious pairing than love and the elixir of the vine would be hard to find.
Valentine’s Day is a February red-letter day. South African wine lovers have additional reasons to spread the love during the hottest month of the year. Some highlights they can look forward to include International Syrah Day, Global Drink Wine Day, and Open That Bottle Night. And now they can relish the addition of another wine day to their February calendars – Happy Birthday South African Wine on 2 February!
More than three centuries ago, the balmy summer days gifted us with what was to become the proud South African (SA) wine industry – admired and held in high esteem globally. On 2 February 1659, Jan van Riebeeck, at the time Dutch Commander of the Cape Colony, entered one simple sentence into his journal: “Heeden is Goode loff van die Caepse druyven d’eerste mael wijn geparst.” Roughly translated it means, “Today, praise be to God, wine was pressed from Cape grapes for the first time.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
The birthday celebration of SA wine gets launched from Cape Town
Appropriately, 2 February is now celebrated each year as the birthday of the SA wine industry under the theme #HappyBirthdaySAWine. The cornerstone of the celebratory commemoration is the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event. Groot Constantia Wine Estate, in Cape Town, hosts this event annually. One highlight is asking for the blessing of the new harvest. Another marks the recognition of trailblazers for their exceptional and lasting contributions to the advancement of the wine industry.
According to Dr Ernest Messina, Chairperson of the Groot Constantia Trust, acknowledging people for their leadership and vision is of great importance. Dr Messina, a prominent business leader and academic explains: “Not only is it important to build strong traditions, such as the blessing of the harvest, but also to honour those who lead the way in taking the SA wine industry to a new level of excellence in an inclusive way. The visionary leadership of these exceptional individuals is crucial to sustaining and growing the industry. They pave the way for future generations to help unlock their talent, passion and commitment for wine, and ultimately leave a unique legacy that will make South Africa proud.”
Join the world in wishing SA wine a happy 364th birthday
On 2 February 2023, South Africa will celebrate the 364th birthday of the country’s wine industry. On this day, the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event, in conjunction with the local and international business community, wine producers, wine workers, wine lovers, connoisseurs, social sippers, restaurateurs, tourism and attractions organisations, wine collectors, and wholesale and retail sectors, all join in to wish SA wine a happy birthday.
Maryna Calow, Communications Manager of Wines of South Africa (WoSA), the official international marketing body for the SA wine industry, hopes revellers will fill their glasses to make the most of the month of love and wine. Her suggestions include the following:
- Add Thursday, 2 February 2023, to your calendar and celebrate South Africa’s lasting wine legacy throughout the month.
- The Wine Harvest Commemorative Event can be attended virtually on Thursday 2 February at 20:30 using a free online link at www.sawineharvest.co.za, making it possible for anyone and everyone to join in.
- Invite your readers, fans, members, and clients to share their preferred way to celebrate the birthday of SA wine.
- Support winetasting events, winemaking demonstrations, educational workshops and special offers in support of #HappyBirthdaySAWine.
- Share your special celebratory events on social media – tag @sawineharvest.
- Ensure every post online uses #HappyBirthdaySAWine – in conjunction with #ToUs #SAWineHarvest2023 #SAWineSince1659 #DiscoverCTWC.
So, calling all lovers of wine, sun, romance and, of course, South Africa: make February the wine month of love to be remembered!