An example of a winelands touring experience

Our first farm of the day will be Villiera, an award winning “Méthode Champenoise” or “Cape Sparkling wine” estate. This farm is owned by the Grier family and is also the farm where I make my own range of Viognier. Here we can taste Cape Bubbly as well as a substantial range of Red and White varietals including Port and Noble late harvest wines. If you want, we can also walk through the functional and spacious cellar, barrel maturation vaults and sparkling wine making cellars. This cellar handles 2500 tons of grapes including up to 40% red grapes and 20% sparkling wine grapes. After a walk through the production of wine we will retreat to the leafy terrace for an informative and fun wine tasting during which I will debunk a lot of the snobbery attached to this wine tasting business.

Our next stop will be Beyerskloof which lies in the heart of one of the world's classic red wine areas, Stellenbosch, in the Cape Winelands. Beyers Truter, the owner / winemaker made his reputation as a winemaker at Kanonkop Estate in the 1980s but he always yearned for the opportunity to go it alone and this is what he has done on the farm Beyerskloof, which incidentally belonged to his forefathers when it was still called Nooitgedacht 103 years ago. The farm Beyerskloof has shallow, gravely soil this is very similar to that of Bordeaux. Beyers Truter is the only winemaker ever to twice receive the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de la Lalande Trophy for the "Best Blended Red Wine" and he is also the founder of the Pinotage Association, which aims to improve the growing, making and marketing of Pinotage grapes and wines.

Today lunch will be enjoyed at Overture which is on Dave Hidden’s glorious wine farm, Hidden Valley. This farm is as high up in the golden triangle of winemaking in the Stellenbosch Mountains as you can go, affording unrivalled vineyard and mountain views. One can even see Robben Island on a clear day. Overture has in its first year of operation sky rocketed to being one of the top ten restaurants in South Africa as voted by the Eat Out magazine. Overture is run by award winning chefs Bertus Basson and Craig Cormack. Bertus has represented South Africa in the most prestigious cookery competitions in the world including The Jeune Commis Rottisseurs, The Culinary Olympics, Global Chefs Challenge and the 2007 Bocuse d' Or. Craig has headed up some of the best hotels in Cape Town including Ellerman House and The Cape Grace. He is also a great wine aficionado and has worked in various countries around the world. Craig recently published his first book - The “Junior Chefs Guide to Practical and Basic cookery” which is being used as a training manual by various cookery schools All the dishes are paired with Hidden Valley wines.

After lunch we visit Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town where we visit the Stellenbosch university campus and explore the Cape Dutch architecture of this historic old town. The white gabled, thatch roofed houses in this village are truly majestic, quite unique and make for some fantastic photographic compositions.

Stellenbosch holds the honour of being the most well-known town in South Africa. History, culture, natural beauty, sport, education and wine has made the name “Stellenbosch” resonate around the globe as one of South Africa’s premier tourist, wine, business and education attractions.

We will visit the oak-lined Dorp Street with its venerable old buildings where modern student life sits comfortably side by side with our history and architectural heritage. The architecture, which Stellenbosch reflects three centuries of occupation, includes Dutch, Georgian and Victorian styles. A myriad of museums and places of interest are found along the oak-lined streets and the crests of the dramatically rising Jonkershoek and Simonsberg mountains that encircle the town are always visible.

Our last stop of the day will be truly decadent education of the taste buds with tutored artisanal chocolate tasting experience. The  chocolatier, Pieter De Villiers, and his wife Cornell will guide you through a fun-filled chocolate tasting during which you will start discovering that Chocolate contains more than 600 flavour compounds, making it surprisingly complex and intriguingly addictive. All of Pieter's chocolate is totally unique using single origin cacao beans. So they know exactly which part of the chocolate world their beans come from. It’s like the concept of terroir in wine. For chocolate that contains 70% cocoa and no other flavourings, additives, stabilizers or emulsifiers, the flavour notes that come through across the various origins are phenomenal. It cannot accurately be explained in words, you simply must taste the chocolate yourself.

Pieter's authentic dark chocolate is a world away from the sickly sweet 'chocolate' confectionary found on the supermarket shelf.

This workshop presents a unique tasting experience from raw bean through every step of the chocolate making process to the finished bar, concluding with a tasting of 6, 70% Single Origin chocolates. Pieter will share some of the details and intricacies of chocolate making, being one of the few remaining “Bean to Bar” chocolate manufacturing companies in the world.

From the decadent chocolates we head back to your residence returning at approximately 17:30 after a relaxing wine, cuisine, culture and history touring day.


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