Visitors to Waterford Estate often wonder why the winery doesn’t have a restaurant. Or why, like so many of its neighbours, the estate isn’t available for weddings or other private functions. After all, the generous courtyard could host a banquet fit for a king.
The answer is really quite simple. Right from the start, owner Jeremy Ord and managing partner Kevin Arnold selected to keep Waterford Estate’s wines at the heart of all its operations. Venturing into the restaurant or wedding business, they knew, could easily detract from the estate’s primary business of producing pioneering, world-class wines.
But, fortunately, there’s one exception: when the first warm days of spring spread through the vineyards, the estate’s doors are flung wide open, the wine starts flowing, and this magical slice of the Blaauwklippen Valley comes alive with music and celebration. In late October, the Waterford Estate courtyard becomes the perfect backdrop for a series of open-air gigs featuring some of South Africa’s most exciting musicians.
Most visitors never get to experience the estate’s courtyard in the evening, which is part of what makes these Sunset Sessions so unique and beguiling. Starlit skies, fresh blooms on long, banquet-style tables, candles and fairy lights transform the space into a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where couples, friends and families get to relax and unwind in the company of great South African musicians.
Last year was the first season in which Waterford Estate offered the Sunset Sessions, all of which were incredibly popular and completely booked out. “This year, the Sessions will be a showcase of up-and-coming, undiscovered names in the South African music industry,” says Waterford Estate Marketing Coordinator, Isabelle Bezuidenhout. “We’re trying to steer away from the big acts, as we want the Sessions to be a discovery of new music.”
The Sunset Sessions make for some of the best evenings one could possibly have in the Cape Winelands. And, this season, each of the artists have an interesting story to tell. A few of the artists to look forward to include:
– Vernon Barnard, who made his debut on The Voice South Africa in 2016 and who has been blind since the age of five.
– Amy Jones, who first became known when she made it into the top 16 on SA Idols Season 9. In October this year, Amy won the Dance Music Awards South Africa 2018 Best EDM Record of the Year.
– Jackal & the Wind, a South African indie band with close ties to Waterford Estate. Two of the band members are brothers – one previously worked at Waterford Estate, while the other is currently employed at the winery.
– The KinK, a unique six-piece, soul-fusion band.
– Blair Taberer, a South African solo/pop/folk/indie musician who entered the local music scene in 2012.
If you’re joining a Sunset Session this year, you can expect to have your pre-ordered wine and a set table ready for you on arrival. While you enjoy snacks from your own picnic basket, a waiter will make sure that your wine glass remains topped up. Plus, there’ll be a photographer on site, ensuring that all those memorable moments are captured by a professional.
Don’t miss the first Sunset Session of the season. On Friday 26 October, Vernon Barnard will be performing live in the Waterford Estate courtyard. Remember to bring your own picnic basket, to invite your friends along, and to share your best #waterfordsunsetsession selfie for a chance to win a bottle of wine! Tickets cost R200 per person and can be booked online.
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