Grand finale – it’s a big statement to make about our final full day in Cape Town, but it’s 100% accurate in this case. As if Robben Island, Table Mountain, the fantastic food, Cape of Good Hope, the penguins and seals, and shark diving wasnt fantastic enough, our day in the Winelands of South Africa was icing on the cake. And no, it wasnt just because I love my wine (and no, I do not have a problem ;)).
A majority of the reason why our day in the Winelands was so special was our tour guide/company: Wine Escapes with John. From start to finish, this was a first class operation and Barr and I felt so well taken care of – I told John before the tour that while we (okay, me) have our views and tastes on wine when at home/dinner, we were a blank slate when it came to what we wanted to see and taste in the Winelands; we really just wanted to see fabulous farms/vineyards, top notch wine and learn about the history of the region and their processes along the way. Wine Escapes did not disappoint.
John picked us up with goodie bags in hand (it had, in addition to other things, candy – so I was thrilled from moment go), and said we would be exploring Stellenbosch that day, with trips to 3 farms and a stop for lunch as well. (Just as an FYI: there are two other large towns that comprise the Winelands, Paarl and Franschhoek – places that I hope to go back and explore next time!)
Our first stop was Hartenberg Estate. We had an amazing round of wines and the farm itself was beautiful. I’m not a big Chardonnay person typically, but the Chardonnay here was so light – not buttery or “oaky” at all – John explained that they specifically make it less oaky as my opinion apparently aligns with the global opinion and decline of Chard consumption over the last 10 years (editor note: my palette is clearly amazing). Hartenberg is also very well know for their 1st Place Gold Medal Syrah Du Monde France 2012, the Stork, named for the original owner of Hartenberg, Ken Mackenize. If you’re so inclined, you can read more about the Stork here.
Hartenberg Wine Estate
The next stop was Waterford Estate. Again, another home run! Here, John had set up a wine and chocolate pairing as well as a cellar tour (Barr was pumped for one of these and I was pumped for the other – bonus points if you get it correct!) This farm was originally built to grow citrus, and the drive up to the estate still has many of the citrus trees still standing (and smelling ahhhhmazing).
The citrus trees which line the entrance
Waterford Wine Estate
Waterford Wine Estate
Wine, chocolate and Barr: some of my favorite things!
Learning about the cleaning of the barrels
The Waterford Estate cellar
En route to lunch, we passed a sign for Ernie Els’ wine estate – Barr casually asked about it and John inquired if we enjoyed golf. If you know my husband, to say he “enjoys” golf is an understatement. As soon as John asked this, I (several glasses of vino deep by this time) exuberantly and proudly told him all about Barr’s time playing golf for university (and growing up), as well as just his general, overwhelming love of the game. (Side note: I too enjoy golf, but the it’s more of a love/hate thing at this point…) Anywho, John nodded and deposited us at our lunch reservation, but came in a bit later to join us and inform us that he had made an appointment for a tasting at the farm as well as a special surprise – he also assured us that the wine was excellent 🙂
Can we talk about this?
The surprise, aside from the wine tasting, was the little chipping green and a special tour of Ernie Els’ personal wine cellar – we were in 7th heaven! Usually, they only have this set up 1 time a month, but when John called ahead, he specifically asked if they would set it up for us! Plus, if you make a “hole in one”, you got a complimentary bottle of wine – pressure was on! But back to the wine…we were really impressed with the wines we got to sample – the Proprietor’s Blend was our overall favorite there. Not to mention the tour of Ernie’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) personal cellar was beyond cool. Here are some of my favorite shots from Ernie Els Wine Estate:
Golf nerds the (replica) Claret Jug
Why, yes, I did try my hand at this – see that fountain? Yeah, that’s where my first ball lives now (second attempt was more successful)
The Big Easy’s cellar
His hands and feet are huge!
Loved how open and airy this estate was
Clearly, this was a day to remember (though some points were a bit hazy…) Let me tell you again, if you ever find yourself in Cape Town and are interested in visiting the Winelands, do yourself a favor and book with Wine Escapes – you will NOT be disappointed.
So that’s all, folks, from our trip to Cape Town. Our final day was truncated and we didnt bring the camera around with us, but Bo-Kaap and the markets in downtown Cape Town were festive and a fun way to see us off. We are so glad we made the whirlwind trip to Cape Town, and as I have said multiple times, hope to go back one of these day – we should be so blessed! I also want to thank all my friends for their tips and recommendations – yall are the best 🙂
Now that the Cape Town posts are done, I guess you’re stuck with just me and my everyday life here again and for that, I apologize, but hopefully I will have some good posts and pics up my sleeve in the coming days/weeks/months. Until next time…