Tag Archives: wine

Wine and Pizza at Simonsvlei in Paarl (2017-10-08) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 19 OCT 2017

It’s really hard to miss the Simonsvlei as you drive past Paarl on either the N1 or the Old Paarl Road, thanks in part to the gigantic oversized wine bottle statue that towers next to the winery’s main premises.

Effective, right?

Anyway, with its name originating from the founder of the South African wine industry, Simon van der Stel, and the area’s vlei (wetlands) landscape, Simonsvlei was founded shortly after the second World War, its primary goal to give the area’s grape and wine farmers the facilities to produce quality wines on a larger and more sustainable scale.

(Today the winery is probably best known among locals for its penchant to produce decent wine that is sold at an affordable price.)

After spending a Sunday morning in Paarl with the kids (we were trying out the new BASH kids venue that had literally just opened on the nearby Dvine Estate), we were on the lookout for a place to grab a bite to eat and escape the fresh wind that was starting to pick up, when (as I pointed out might happen at the start of this piece) a giant wine bottle caught our eye and we headed off straight in its direction.

And that’s how we ended up at Simonsvlei.

This was the first ever visit to the Simonsvlei winery for me and as it turns out, in addition to its wine tasting room and conference facilities, the winery does in fact have a restaurant on the premises in the form of Eat@Simonsvlei – not to mention a separate beer brewing and machine letting outfit called Karoo Craft Breweries.

However, we were there for some lunch and given that the wind meant that the veranda wasn’t really a viable seating option for the day, we were instead shown to a big old table indoors where we quickly jumped into the job of selecting a wine, food for the kids, and of course something nibbly for ourselves.

In terms of architecture, finishing, decor and menu, it has to be said that the facilities here at Simonsvlei definitely come across as maybe being somewhat stuck in the 80’s (or at least that is how Chantelle and I perceived it), though that said, the atmosphere was nice enough and in the end we enjoyed our lunch visit.

(Of course, that might also have been entirely the fault of the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend that we were enjoying as well!)

There is actually a really nice, fenced off kids play area in the front of the estate, meaning that following the meal (and wine), the kids dragged Chantelle down for a spell of play (the wind was a lot more friendly by now), while I instead snatched up the opportunity to trudge about and take a few photos of the outside area (including of course the titular vlei).

So. I guess while there are a LOT other more pretty and interesting wine estates in the area to be experienced, Simonsvlei does stand out a little as one of those nice, more down to Earth establishments, so maybe worth a stop if you don’t particularly feel like its slightly more haughty Franschhoek and Stellenbosch compatriots on the day.

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Bonus: Just in case you have never spotted the giant wine bottle whilst hurtling down the N1 before, here’s a handy map (in the event that you want to check them out for yourself one day):

Related Link: Simonsvlei | Eat@Simonsvlei

Indian Runner Ducks and a Market at Vergenoegd in Stellenbosch (2016-10-15) Markets | Photo Gallery 22 APR 2017

Following some delightful deli delicacies from the upmarket Asara boutique hotel outside Stellenbosch one early Saturday morning in October last year (the original plan had been to pick strawberries at Polkadraai Farm down the road in case you are wondering), we next popped our heads in at nearby Vredenheim – where we promptly decided to much rather head further down the road to visit the newly revamped Vergenoegd Wine Estate for the first time – and man are we glad that we did!

Despite being the third oldest wine farm in the Cape (having been established way, way back in 1773), Vergenoegd has never really been a part of Stellenbosch’s famed (and super lucrative) wine route tourism market – a fact that has only now recently been rectified, following a change of ownership in 2015.

The new owners have done an amazing job of renovating and breathing new life into this grand old dame of a wine farm, allowing for Vergenoegd to very much become the new Stellenbosch destination darling that everyone seems to currently be talking about!

(Seriously, whomever is handling their marketing needs a massive raise. That team is doing a brilliant job of putting Vergenoegd very firmly on Stellenbosch’s tourism map!)

Front and center in terms of popular attractions is of course their amazingly well trained herd of Indian Runner ducks, tasked with keeping the vineyards snail and bug free.

The famous duck parade (the girls LOVED it!) is of course a massive hit with the kids, and in fact, has done so well for Vergenoegd that they now even host full on, informative duck tours!

In terms of dining offerings, they have a lovely restaurant area in front of the manor house, as well as a range of artisan picnic options to choose from.

Then of course there is the wine tasting covering their various well made wines, and even more interestingly, a range of interactive wine, olive oil, tea and coffee blending experiences that teaches you about the source and technique behind some of the Cape’s best food and drink products.

Naturally, as just about every other place in the winelands is doing these days, Vergenoegd is also home to its very own Saturday farmer’s market, with both adults and kids well catered for.

Given the market’s runaway success, the team has now further expanded on the this experience by hosting live music events, bringing in some surprisingly popular local musicians in the process!

(Oh, and they also have a weekly, family friendly fun run/walk through the vineyards.)

In other words, it is really, really hard not to like this place.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, we kind of just wandered onto the estate without knowing anything about it other than there was a pretty cool duck parade to be seen. The market was certainly a pleasant (and welcome!) surprise, and we ended up having a great afternoon out there on the day, soaking up the vibe and enjoying the live music.

As always, I snapped a few pictures which does nothing to do the place any sort of real justice, but serves well enough to give a decent idea of what you can expect to find any given Saturday afternoon at Vergenoegd:

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In summary: The little ones are of course guaranteed to get a kick out of the ducks, but that said, the restaurant location is fantastic, not to mention the new market. Well worth a weekend outing then.

Related Link: Vergenoegd Wine Estate

Joke Factory: Turning Water into Wine Jokes & other Funny Stuff 24 FEB 2012

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut.

The traffic officer smells alcohol on the priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

“Sir, have you been drinking?” asks the officer.

“Just water,” replies the priest.

Having none of this, the officer slowly and deliberately asks, “Then why do I smell wine?”

Without so much as a blink of an eye, the priest looks down at the bottle and exclaims, “Good Lord! He’s done it again!”

Pizza-laid Plans My Life 06 MAR 2008

PizzaLast night I made another delivery drop in Gordon’s Bay as we had organised for Andrea to be there for a little impromptu meeting. I was a little late in arriving thanks to the trains being a little delayed and me stuffing my car with as much miscellaneous stuff (like my home PC, pot plants, clothes, etc.) as possible and arrived to find the two girls complete with wine glass in hand and awaiting upon their saviour for the evening – the pizza delivery guy.

Happy in the fact that I had timed my arrival to perfection in order to receive warm pizza (thanks Andrea for organising!), I unpacked the car and the three of us sat down and got to business, discussing things we would like to do in the flat, what Andrea needs to move out and a few other administrative issues.

So far so good, as Chantelle’s (for now) flat is looking pretty packed, with my boxed and black bagged stuff basically having taken over the smaller ‘man room’ as we have now dubbed it and Chantelle’s stuff overflowing in the kitchen. Already Chantelle has begun clearing out Andrea’s stuff and moving it to a common point, making Andrea’s life easier because she just has to arrive and load stuff into her car while at the same time giving us more space to start packing out in.

As it is, the final ‘big push’ at the end of this month when I officially move in should be a pretty smooth affair because if things continue at the pace that they are currently moving, we’ll basically have the flat already sorted out by then! Organisation, organisation, organisation. What more can I say? :)

No moving stuff around this weekend for us though – the two of us are off to Franskraal for a well deserved weekend away along the coast! Looking forward to it already…