Wine enthusiasts converged on the breathtaking Matumi Estate for this year’s Unwined Lowveld Wine and Food festival where they indulged in an afternoon of wine sampling from over 35 vineyards.
From learning how to identify the unique aromas that give wines their distinctive characters to understanding the difference between a chardonnay, a sauvignon blanc and a chenin blanc, this festival was quite the learning experience. As far as I could tell, the different sparkling wines’ only agenda was to ensure a cheerful mood for all, and it certainly served as the ideal way to kick start the festive season.
We were enthralled by an explosion of flavours as an assortment of artisanal foods from local restaurants such as Le Petit Zest, Cavalieri, The Clubhouse and Cicada accompanied the various wines.
The festival attracted hundreds of people, making it an ideal occasion to meet and mingle with revelers from as far as Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Ever the conversationalist, I found myself interacting with a couple from Soweto, but who relocated to Mbombela after coming under the spell of its unmatched natural beauty, moderate climate and subtropical fruits. The couple – who I now refer to as self-made brand ambassadors for Mpumalanga – invited some of their friends to experience the festival and inevitably to explore the province’s natural attractions. For many of their friends, this was their first visit to Mpumalanga and unsurprisingly they too were captivated by the sheer variety of activities to do here.
The weekend also saw the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Authority taking over the famed Vilakazi Street in Soweto as part of the newly launched MTPA festive season campaign to promote intra-provincial tourism and revive a very important part of the local economy.
Along with supporting domestic travel, participating in intra-provincial travel is fundamental to revitalising South Africa’s tourism industry. It also provides a platform to learn about other cultures within our borders and builds the social-cohesion needed for this country and its economy to thrive. All in all, the tasty food, mellow wine and even robust conversation made this year’s Unwined Lowveld Wine and Food a runaway success and a major win for Mpumalanga tourism.