Winelands unusual

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a normal winetasting (the one where you drive to the vineyard, stand or sit at the bar area and taste a few of their wines). In fact, it’s a great way to discover new favourites and improve on your wine-snob skills (you know, the swirling, sniffing and gargling followed by some appropriate lingo like “cigar box” or “smooth tannins”). But I recently had a winelands experience with #MeetSouthAfrica that was so much more than just winetasting. It included coffee, buchu brandy in a vodka bottle, bikes, sunsets and a green parrot to name a few. Here’s how it went:

First thing in the morning we visited Terbodore Coffee Roasters, a craft coffee roastery just outside Franschhoek. Here, we learned about the different beans and saw a batch of arabica being roasted to perfection. Did you know that the darker the roast (and deeper the flavour), the less the caffeine in the brew??? The smell of roasting beans was intoxicating, and almost enough to wake even those amongst us who had seen the bottom of a few too many tequila glasses the night before. I tried a iced coffee made with espresso, ice, honey and milk. To Die For!


Terbodore Coffee

At Haut Espoire, we did a biodiversity walk with owner Rob Armstrong. Rob and his team work very hard to promote indigenous plants, and eradicating aliens (plants, not weird creatures wanting to call home). Did you know that just one large eucalyptus tree (brought here from Australia) can drink up to 1,500 litres of water per day!? Haute Espoire produce small quantities of biodynamic wine, using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and working in harmony with nature. They also grow olives, organic vegetables and raise free range chickens. Oh and we got to taste Rob’s Buchu Brandy, something that I recommend doing a lot later than 10 in the morning…

Haute Espoire

Haut Espoire

Bikes n Vines caused the group a collective sense-of-humour breakdown and near sunstroke as we rode through the vines up a very long hill in the blazing midday sun. Never before have I had sweat-rings on my kneecaps… But just as I thought the poor guide was in serious danger of bodily harm, we reached the top and it was an easy ride to the first winetasting. The rest of the tour was mostly downhill, and our morale was furthered heightened by the intake of fine wines. Thankfully, it was a very short ride from the last tasting back to the finishing line, as by now we were all rather jolly!

Bikes 'n Wines

At Black Elephant Vintners, Kevin guided us through the process of making and naming his wines and the detailed work of all the labels. His green parrot Kulula interrupted him now and then by letting out a shriek or biting his ear. All of the wines have their own story, and my favourite is Amazing Grace; named after Kevin’s late father who adored the song. As they press the grapes for this wine, they play the song in the cellar. Maybe that is what gives this wine its special magic. Many wines were tried at BE Vintners, and order may have disintegrated slightly towards the end…

Black Elephant Vintners

Black Elephant Vintners

At the end of a long day, you get the most amazing views of the sunset from Franschhoek pass. The light turns into liquid gold, then fades and gives way to a thousand stars. It is the perfect spot for a sundowner before you explore the culinary delights of the Foodie Capital of South Africa. Then start all over again the next day, if you have the courage!

Sunset Franschhoek

One response to “Winelands unusual

  1. Great piece Kat. What a fabulous account of one of many crazy days we had. I particularly like the way you handled the bike ride. Very restrained. I am still enjoying my Terbodore coffee, I bought 4 bags of it.

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