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Most of the 18km ride traversed local tar roads with small sections of easy dirt roads and tracks. Heading out from the Wine Festival venue at Coetzenburg, riders headed up Jonkershoek Road past estates like Lanzerac, Starke Condè and Rudera, up to the turnaround point at the Nature Reserve gate before embarking on the return loop via Assegaaibos and the Jonkershoek Road cycle path.

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The turnaround area was also the highest point on the route allowing riders to mostly freewheel back home. Although this ride is well known to any Stellenbosch local, an added feature was that special permission obtained from Cape Nature to utilise the more secluded Assegaaibos section to the route, which is not usually accessible.

All finishers received a special commemorative medal.

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The 2015 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay has shown exciting growth across the various platforms. The three-day wine and lifestyle experience, which sported a new family-friendly format and spectacular new venue at Coetzenburg, definitely found traction with wine lovers and recorded a significant increase both in terms of the attendance figure, which stood at 8500 people, and wine sales.

Sixty-three wine farms and eleven boutique wineries from the Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes presented over 350 different wines for tasting, while participating restaurants in the Gourmet Lane reported brisk trading and the food and wine pairing sessions in the Tasting Room were fully booked daily.

This year’s festival was also boosted by several well-attended outdoor events. The Pick n Pay Women’s Walk saw close to 3000 participants taking to the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch in aid of PinkDrive, an organisation that offers free breast-cancer screening and education to women around the country.

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The Momentum Grape Golf Challenge sported a full field of players at De Zalze Golf Estate and the post-event charity auction raised an additional R28 000 for the official festival charity. An additional R10 000 was raised by players hitting the giant inflatable M. The Stellenbosch Wine Festival Foundation annually awards bursaries to disadvantaged students, whose parents are employed in the wine industry. This year, bursaries to the value of R150 000 were allocated to four deserving students.

For more information, visit www.wineroute.co.za.