THE ninth annual Seekoeirivier Wine Festival will take place at Happy Hippo - 2.4km outside Paradise Beach towards St Francis Bay - from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturday, December 22.Since its humble beginnings in 2010, the festival - the brain child of Marelize van Niekerk from Seekoeirivier and cellar master Francois van Niekerk from Wellington Wines, grew from four wine estates to 11 this year.“We like to keep the festival exclusive and most of the estates are represented by the winemaker himself,” says Francois who first worked at a cellar in the Boland and immediately fell in love with the fine art of creating wine.After his studies at Elsenburg he worked in California and France for a few seasons, which further fuelled his passion for wine-making.Francois says, “Wellington Wines have had a good year in terms of achievements with gold medals at national as well as international competitions. “The highlight of 2018 was when Wellington won the General Smuts trophy at the National Young Wine Show. It is basically the champion win of the 2018 harvest.”Wine connoisseurs and lovers of wine will have the opportunity to taste and buy wines from various wine estates and speak to the wine makers.These include Wellington Wines, La Cave, Dromer Wyne, Silkbush Mountain Vineyards, Jakkalsvlei, Cilmor Winery, Prevoir Wines, Zorgvliet, Aan de Doorns and Mayime Winery.Why a wine festival in Jeffreys Bay?“Apart from the large number of holidaymakers, there is a lot of interest in wine by local residents. It remains one of the best wine festivals in the country,” says Francois.There will also be kids’ entertainment, food stalls and live music.Tickets cost R185 per person at www.quicknet.co.za and R200 per person at the festival. Children enter free.For more information , contact 082 560 5606.