Tag Archives: wine tasting

Wine Tasting at Ormonde in Darling (2019-05-11) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 05 NOV 2019

After a morning session of cake in Durbanville and then dropping the girls off with their grandparents, Chantelle and I enjoyed the scenic drive out towards Darling, pulling into the charming little town well before we could actually check into the guest house we were staying at for the evening. Only one solution for that really – a spontaneous spot of wine tasting!

Situated on the edge of the residential part of Darling, Ormonde fell into the hands of the Basson family in 1970 when they bought the farm to start a dairy stud but in the process decided to plant some vineyards as well – in a time long before the area became the wine producing region that it is today.

The closeness to the cold Atlantic Ocean, the altitudes afforded by the Darling hills, and the eroded granite type homogenous soils of the plantation all mix to produce a terroir that has helped Ormonde produce numerous top award winning wines. (Though the 2006 investment into an ultra modern, international standard cellar didn’t hurt either!)

With a welcoming lawn area overlooking a duck-filled pond, a small outside eatery and lots of shaded nooks and crannies to enjoy, the Ormonde wine estate makes for a pleasant family outing space, though as Chantelle and I can now attest to, their excellent quality wines are more than reason enough to pay Ormonde a visit of your own!

Pizza and Wine at Jakkalsvlei near Herbertsdale (2019-01-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JUL 2019

Herbertsdale is a small settlement that lies east of the Gourits river, 56 km north west of Mossel Bay. Travel another 6 or so kilometers on from there, and you will stumble upon a most unexpected sight – a winery and its vineyard, better known as Jakkalsvlei.

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg mountains with its cool temperate climate, Jakkalsvlei (named after the once abundant jackals found in the area) with its 34 hectare vineyard is perfectly positioned to produce high quality mountain-grown grapes which are then turned into a host of awarding winning wines.

The site is also home to a stunning tasting room/restaurant facility which surprisingly is almost always busy – despite Jakkalsvlei being VERY much out in the middle of nowhere! (In fact, they are so busy that come the December holiday season, the team has to put up an outside tent in order to cope with the sheer volume of visitors!)

Pizza, burgers, wine and cotton candy tastings (and the occasional live music act), Jakkalsvlei is more than worth the lazy drive out to the middle of nowhere.

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Ending a Touchwork year at Groot Constantia and Pastis, Cape Town (2018-12-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 FEB 2019

Following the last year-end function at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek, 2018’s Touchwork/Hypenica year-end function moved a little closer to home with a delightful session of wine tasting at the granddaddy of Cape wine estates, Groot Constantia, followed by a delectable French-themed lunch at nearby Pastis Brasserie.

Now a provincial heritage site, Groot Constantia is recognised as being the oldest wine estate in South Africa, with this age old winery having been established in 1685 after the land was first granted to Simon van der Stel, the then VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.

These days, in addition to the production of excellent wine, Groot Constantia is also a major Cape Town tourist attraction (a member of Cape Town’s Big 6 to be exact), with the grounds being home to the Cape Dutch Manor House, the famed Cloete Cellar, two restaurants, a wine tasting centre, wine and cultural history museums, and walking tours of the vineyards and modern-day production cellar.

As for us on the day, we were there to taste wine, and taste wine we did.

Next up, a short stroll down the road lead the French-themed team to the Pastis Brasserie, a French inspired eatery that has been around since 2004. More wine was drunk, speeches had, Mystery Santa played, and lunch tucked into.

Great way to end off another good year for both sister companies really.

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Celebratory Dessert at Postcard Cafe in Stellenbosch (2018-11-07) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 18 FEB 2019

We celebrated last year’s wedding anniversary with some delectable lunch at Sweetwell, just outside Stellenbosch. For dessert, we took a drive through the town and headed out towards Jonkershoek, making our way to the tucked away gem of Postcard Cafe, the small bistro/restaurant situated on the grounds of the delightful Stark-Conde Wines estate.

Fronted by a large open lawn overlooking a small dam, the beauty of the landscape around you is almost reason enough to pay a visit to Postcard Cafe, but of course its well crafted menu is not something to be overlooked either.

Given the beautiful day that we found ourselves out and about in the valley, we opted to sit outside on the patio, soaking up the view while tucking into our desserts and coffee. (Sadly for us though, on this particular day the desserts didn’t quite match up to our expectations.)

Nevertheless, the locale is stunning, the atmosphere tranquil, and quite frankly, it is easy to see why Postcard Cafe is as popular as what it is!

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Fishing for Lunch at Eikendal in Stellenbosch (2017-08-06) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 11 DEC 2017

You could of course travel to Eikendal in Raithby, lying along the R44 snug between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, in order to taste and buy their award winning wines. You could even be heading out that way to stay in one of the private terraced rooms of the Eikendal Lodge, or perhaps to try your hand at fly fishing in their trout stocked dams.

Most likely though, you are probably heading towards their distinctively styled entrance to grab a seat (either inside or out) at Cucina di Giovanni, more commonly referred to as Giovanni’s among the locals.

We didn’t actually know this, but it turns out that this restaurant is rather on the popular side, and even more pleasingly, produces some particularly delicious pizza – as we found out for ourselves with an impromptu visit there one Sunday afternoon back in August this year.

(Turns out, the place we were actually on our way out to, the nearby Vredenhof, is closed on Sundays).

Eikendal itself is really worth a visit though.

Obviously there is the traditional wine tasting and food pairing that happens at the Eikendal Tasting Centre, but then there are also tours of their distinctive barrel vaulted cellar, fishing with the onsite Winelands Fly Fishing outfit, upmarket food from Giovanni’s, mapped out vineyards walks, lush green lawns, and finally a small kids play area, to enjoy.

Also, the abundant views of the vineyards and mountains isn’t too shabby either.

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Chantelle, the kids and I rather enjoyed this impromptu visit, and given the fact that Eikendal lists Kiddies Tastings and Tractor Rides on their website, there is a more than reasonable chance of us returning for a more full experience sooner than later!

Related Link: Eikendal Wine Estate | Cucina di Giovanni | Giovanni’s Eikendal

Wine Tasting with Art at Saronsberg in Tulbagh (2016-12-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 AUG 2017

Forged in the 2000’s and named after the mountain whose western slope is home to many of their vineyards, Tulbagh’s award winning Saronsberg, despite the farm itself’s deep historic roots, is actually a relatively new wine producer, having only produced its first vintage back in 2004.

Saronsberg Wine Cellar is known as a patron of the arts, and as such have married their wine tasting facilities with an unique art gallery, showcasing the work of a broad spectrum of famous and proudly South African artists.

I’m particularly fond of Angus Taylor’s work, and his hauntingly beautiful “From Earth From Water” (more commonly known as Lady of the Lake) sculpture serves as Saronsberg’s official mascot.

In addition to the actual wine (and nowadays olive oil) production, Saronsberg caters as a superb conference venue, and if that wasn’t enough, accommodation in the form of elegant self-catering vineyard cottages is also on the books.

As for the wine,  well two of Saronsberg’s red wines stand at the top of SAWi’s (The South African Wine Index) scored list, meaning that you are guaranteed to taste something remarkable if you ever find yourself in the area.

Which is exactly what happened when Chantelle and I paid a visit to their wonderfully modern wine cellar facilities last December.

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A perfect marriage of wine and art.

(Hint: Angus Taylor’s “Conduit” stone man is a good indication that you’ve successfully navigated your way to Saronsberg!)

Related Link: Saronsberg Wine Cellar

Wine Tasting and Pizza at Val du Charron in Wellington (2016-12-11) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 16 MAY 2017

Last year December saw Chantelle and I break away from the kids for a weekend in Tulbagh. There was of course a lot of wine tasting, eating and sightseeing, and for the drive home, we opted for the long way around, going via Bainskloof Pass and through Wellington – mostly because we REALLY wanted to stop and taste wines at the famed Val Du Charron Wine and Olive Estate.

Originally proclaimed in 1699, the working farm of Val Du Charron is currently a darling of Wellington tourism, with its offerings including both 5 star and 4 star accommodation options, a spa, wine tasting, wine and olive production, and two eating options, the first in the form of The Local Grill, and the second a new family friendly pizza-centric offering known as Piza e Vino.

Lying on the slopes of the Bovlei valley, the historic Cape Dutch architecture of the estate is framed with beautiful views of both the Groenberg and Hawequa mountains, and on this particularly hot, windless Summer’s day, we were treated to cloudless bright blue sky as far as one could see.

The wine tasting took place in a small intimate little wine tasting room, where our host took us through some of Val du Charron’s amazing wines and their associated tales – with their Black Countess sticking particularly favourably in my memory.

For lunch we opted for the busy Piza e Vino, choosing to escape the blistering heat by sitting inside the cool restaurant building as opposed to all the families clustered under the umbrellas while the kids enjoyed the water play area outside. (A sacrifice of view I know, but man, you wouldn’t believe how hot it was on the day!)

Pleasingly, the pizza was pretty damn good. (No wonder the restaurant was as busy as it seemed!)

So. Art, food, drink and a view – what more could one ask for?

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Val Du Charron is a particularly beautiful space with a lot of history mixed in with plenty of modern touches, making for a very definite stop if you ever find yourself being a tourist (wine drinking or not) in the area!

Related Link: Val Du Charron Wine and Olive Estate | Piza e Vino

Wine Tasting at La Bourgogne in Franschhoek (2016-10-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 22 APR 2017

Having tasted wine at both Rickety Bridge and Grande Provence, and lunched at Le Petite Dauphine’s Cafe BonBon, next on our wine tram experience was a wine tasting at La Bourgogne wine farm, itself a subdivision of the farm Bourgogne which was among the first Huguenot farms, proclaimed way back in 1694!

Shaded by 150 year old oaks, the farm house at La Bourgogne is the heart of this working farm which today produces quality wines, export quality plums and pears, and some rather good olive oils to boot.

It also boasts a couple of rather fine, secluded riverside cottages.

We were there of course to taste some wine, but to be honest, most of us were already pretty much done with wine for the day, which is probably why Chantelle immediately settled for a dessert, while Monty opted to try some olives.

So we sat and enjoyed some wine, olives and cake, overlooking the lush green, rolling lawns behind the tasting room, surrounded by vineyards, accompanied by the local St. Bernard dog, observed by passing horse riders, and completely satisfied in the tranquility of the surroundings.

So yes, it was rather nice.

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At this point then, everyone pretty much agreed that the day had now drawn to a close. The wine had been good, the company great, and besides, it was still a long drive back home for everyone involved!

Related Link: La Bourgogne Wine Farm | Franschhoek Wine Tram

Wine Tasting at Grande Provence in Franschhoek (2016-10-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 APR 2017

Last year saw Chantelle and myself tackle the fantastic Franschhoek Wine Tram experience once more, and following our first tasting over at the Rickety Bridge Winery, our next stop came in the form of the grand, art rich and 300 year old Franschhoek institution, the Grande Provence estate.

We were very excitedly telling our companions all about the fantastic massive elephant and horse rider statues guarding over the entrance at Grande Provence, which I guess then is precisely why when we did finally pull up via our tractor drawn carriage, neither of those two statues were anywhere in sight!

(Turns out, as we found out later following some inquiries, some wealthy American took a liking to the statues and had them shipped out back to the States. Which makes complete sense when all the beautiful pieces on display are actually there for sale purposes in the first place!)

Not that it matters in the slightest though. We were after all there to taste some wine, and indeed, the wine that we got to taste was very good indeed!

Grande Provence was slightly on the busy side when we arrived, so Chantelle and I opted to do our tasting inside the tasting room while the others waited to be helped outside. We got talking to the gentleman helping us with our tasting, and he surprised us by letting us taste some of the more expensive wines which weren’t even on our tasting list for the day!

Following our tasting, Chantelle and I headed outside to explore a little more. The estate’s classic Cape Dutch architecture is enhanced by the beautifully manicured and maintained gardens, which are of course studded with clever and thought provoking sculpture pieces wherever you look.

So pro tip: keep this in mind if you are there for only a short amount of time – be sure to set aside a good couple of minutes for yourself to be able to amble around the gardens and take in all the artistic sights.

Unless of course you really are there only for the wine! ;)

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As for us on the day? Next up, lunch at Café BonBon on the La Petite Dauphine guest farm!

Related Link: Grande Provence Wine Estate | Franschhoek Wine Tram