In addition to cemeteries, sunsets, and trains, I love wine.
There was one particularly cloudy, wet, drizzly day toward the end of my Cape Town sojourn, and that is the day that called for one of those other things South Africa is well known for: Its VINO.
While I am not necessarily a connoisseur of grape varietals, I can easily distinguish between a wine that is a good match with my palate and one that isn’t. It’s not too complicated.
I selected a half-day (about four hour) Winelands tour of a couple of vineyards along the Stellenbosch wine route. The tour was comprised of about seven tourists and included two stops.
I’ve been to wine tastings in Santa Barbara, CA and in Sonoma County, CA, but these tastings were unique in the way they were conducted.
Instead of standing around at a bar with a very brief introduction for each wine presented, the way they usually are, we were seated at a picnic bench and served cheese and crackers to accompany each of the wines — and to that, all I can say is, when is cheese an unwelcome addition to anything?
The first stop was at the Zevenwacht wine estate. They extended generous portions. As a wine tasting should be, it was an easy, non-rushed experience, with plenty of time to take in the aromas, the vibe, the company of our fellow travelers, and gather an overall sense of the room, including a friendly house dog.
After the tastings, we were taken into another room, where we were given a tour of the wine cellar and shown the large barrels of wine used in the Zevenwacht wine-making process.
After Zevenwacht, we hauled back into the van to be transported through the afternoon rain over to another wine estate on the Stellenbosch route: Saxenburg.
This tasting room had a similar format but quite different feel. The wine steward (if that is the technical name for the person who presents and pours the wine) emphasized the history of the estate much more than the previous one had.
As evidenced in the photos below, the timeline of the Saxenburg history was laid out on the wall of the tasting room.
A “must” experience for those so inclined, I highly recommend the Winelands Tours for a stay in the Cape Town region, regardless of weather. Once we were well into the tastings, we didn’t notice the weather anyway.
The trip back to our respective hotels occurred during the midst of the local rush hour, but that didn’t seem like much of a problem either.
Save it for a rainy day? Definitely!