When in the Western Cape, visiting wineries and wine estates really adds to the richness of the experience. The venues are usually set in beautifully scenic areas and many are housed in amazing historical buildings. Of course there’s also yummy wine to be had. For a long time I was rather intimidated by wine drinkers, they use big words and I didn’t have a clue regarding the difference between a pinotage and a chardonnay etc. There is a snobbery surrounding wine drinking which I find both daunting and a tad off putting. Wine snobs could do well to remember that a well oiled connoisseur is no more impressive than any common or garden piss cat. I was best educated about wine by starting off at a few wine shows in Jo’burg but a visit to a friendly wine farm would have been as good a way to enter the world of wine appreciation.
When reading my blog posts about the various wine estates and wineries which we have visited, bear in mind that I am no expert, still that doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of appreciating a good wine. Generally when we go for a tasting I share one tasting with Cliff and just have a sip of each as I am predominantly occupied with keeping the children under a small measure of control and maintaining a measure of control over my mental faculties.
What I find most appealing is setting, hospitality, history and warmth. I don’t really like the colder modern buildings particularly when paired with impersonal staff. What I love most is when the winemaker or person hosting the tasting takes time and care to chat and share their experiences and knowledge. My best memories of wine estates were Stonewall and Beaumont. At Stonewall we didn’t know that tasting was by appointment only and just pitched up, we spent the most wonderful time with the owner / winemaker, the Chardonnay was delicious and we bought a few bottles but what stayed with us was the memory of his hospitality and the interesting points which he shared with us. At Beaumont it was also the hospitality which remains unforgettable. We arrived at Beaumont as a stop in while traveling from Somerset West to Augulhas. Our timing was bad, we arrived as the tasting room was closing for lunch. This was not a problem, we were invited to share the family and workers harvest soup as a picnic next to a little dam. Fjord was given Chardonnay juice (fresh juice made from Chardonnay grapes) it was the most delicious drink and I wish there was somewhere we could buy it. After our picnic the winemaker gave us a memorable wine tasting.