A Day with a Winemaker

Experience a day in the life of one of South Africa’s award winning, privately owned wine estates in the heart of the majestic Cape winelands; savour a meal personally prepared and served by a Cape Grace chef in the historic Victorian homestead and visit a community development project in the local village 

Background and History:

On the outskirts of Stellenbosch, one of South Africa's most picturesque towns and hub of the South African wine industry, a winding cobblestone driveway leads up to Middelvlei Wine Estate with its two historic Victorian homesteads. Home of the renowned Momberg family since 1919, Middelvlei has become one of South Africa's leading wine estates with its rich soil, ideal climate, methodical farming and progressive winemaking techniques.

This family-run estate covers 160 ha of which 130 are planted with vines, meticulously tended to by owner Stiljan Momberg’s middle son and viticulturalist, Ben Momberg. Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tinta Barocca comprise Middelvlei's red cultivars, while the white cultivars include Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Eldest son and winemaker, Tinnie Momberg, shares his father's firm belief in traditional winemaking methods. The wine is fermented in open tanks, after which the malolactic fermentation process takes place in closed tanks. Youngest son, Jan Momberg, and daughter-in-law Jeanneret, manage the logistics of distribution from the farm to the domestic and international markets, including Europe and the USA.

Middelvlei also supports the local community, with the Momberg family involved in creating sustainable development projects for the families of farm workers. The neighbouring village has its own library, an after-school care centre and a woman’s skills development society, which enables women to make and sell arts and crafts. Middelvlei’s assistant wine maker, Thysie, who comes from a historically disadvantaged background, recently had the opportunity of travelling abroad for the first time when he was put forward by Tinnie as part of a programme to support workers in wine farm communities. 

Middelvlei boasts an extended family – not only is it renowned for its vines and award-winning wines, but also for its animals! Welcoming visitors to Middelvlei, are Tinta the Great Dane, as well as Pongracz and Cab, the two Dachshunds. A breeding programme for Grysbok, an African antelope species, has also been started on the farm, which has seen the birth of four Grysbok. Also contributing to the charm of Middelvlei are two miniature horses, a couple of Cameroon pygmy goats and several mountain tortoises, most of which have been on the farm for more than 30 years.

The experience

Departing from your residence, the day starts at approximately 9am with a scenic drive to the Cape winelands. Wine farmer and vine master, Ben, conducts an in-depth tour of the vineyards, pointing out the various soil types, varieties of grapes and technical details of proper wine farming. The vineyard visit culminates on the highest hill of the estate to enjoy sweeping views over the False Bay coast with a glass of sparkling wine.

The experience continues from the vineyards to the farm’s private underground wine cellar, which contains the largest privately owned wine collection in South Africa. There, meet with winemaker, Tinnie, to enjoy a tasting of the estate’s wines surrounded by bottles, some dating back to the 1940’s. The next stop is the wine-producing cellar to “blind taste” from barrels. This provides the privileged opportunity to compare various vintages, straight from the barrel, under the expert guidance of an award-wining winemaker.

While in the cellar, one of South Africa's top 10 celebrity chefs will prepare a three-course lunch representing his or her innovative style and flair. Lunch will be enjoyed in the Victorian homestead's stately dining room with the winemaker, wine farmer, guide and chef, where the winemaker will pare one of his wines with each course. After a leisurely lunch, the last stop for the day is a visit to the farm’s community village to meet some of the local people and to view their development projects.

After an enriching day of good food and wine, the experience slowly comes to an end, leaving Stellenbosch and returning to Cape Grace in the late afternoon.

Tour includes:

  • Full day tour on the estate including all transfers, sightseeing and the services of a personal tour guide
  • 3 Course lunch personally prepared by one of my partnered celebrity chefs, including wine, mineral water and tea or coffee
  • Snacks and soft drinks
  • All taxes
 
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