Rare and exceptional items are going under the hammer at Barrels & Beards on April 22. Whether you grunt, shout or simply tip your hat like a pro in the back corner of the room, you’ll want to bring your A-game to the hairiest auction in town.

The 2017 Best of Bot is an annual highlight of the Barrels & Beards winelands showcase in Bot River that, once again, offers some of the coolest, unusual and desirable items – all on sale to the highest bidder for a most worthy cause.

Funds raised at the Best of Bot Auction will be used to improve the lives of children through various school-level educational projects in the region.

“Barrels & Beards is a great celebration. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to build our community where education is an absolute priority,” says Kobie Viljoen, chairperson of the Bot River Vineyards Association.

Loud and proud Bot River items to go under the hammer will be wines, one-onone interactions with winemakers, farm tours and even unusual experiences like a honey-and-wine pairing.

The most astute bidders will walk away with some truly exceptional items: Five-star wines are a rare breed; at 2017 Best of Bot, you could be the winner of an entire case.

As a knowledgeable wine-lover, you know how vintage of the same wine can differ; now, you’ll be able to host your own vertical tasting should you take the bid for six vintages of a champion wine, among the lots.

Bot River is home to a few of what are arguably the country’s most memorable restaurants, which you’ll get to try ifyou’re able snap them up .

The auctioneer’s clipboard is stacked with a list of items generously donated by Bot River superstar wineries Luddite, Beaumont, Goedvertrouw, Rivendell, Barton, Wildekrans, Gabrielskloof, Genevieve MCC, Villion Family Wines and Thorne & Daughters.

The Best of Bot auction forms part of a day now famed for its great mirth and joviality. There’s the Botriviera dinner – a feast of food of the valley; and, the infamousBeard Parade too.

This celebration of the humble beard near the conclusion of the annual grape harvest began by accident. During harvest, there’s litt le time for shaving; all it took from there was for one person to raise a challenge: who’s the hairiest of them all?

Now, winemakers of this close-knit wine region deliberately undertake a self-imposed shaving ban during the harvest period, and gave rise to the festival of Barrels & Beards.

“Bot River is famous internationally for its community of laid-back, free-thinkers, who are responsible for some of South Africa’s most outstanding wines. Barrels & Beards is about sharing this culture and hospitality,” says Bot River Wine Route co-ordinator Melissa Nelsen .

Bot River lies an hour’s drive up the N2 highway from Cape Town. A divine country getaway, the region has long been known for its wine pioneers and mavericks. There  are 13 wine farms, mostly family-owned and run, producing world class wines.

_ The 2017 Bot River Barrels & Beards showcase will take place on April 22 at 5pm at R450 per adult. Tickets are available at www.quicket.co.za. For enquiries and pre-bookings contact Wilmari Geyer on info@bartonvineyards.co.za and 084-231-8930.