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Wine Tasting and Contemporary Art at Glen Carlou
Sip and swirl vintages from Argentina to Australia, and browse through a world-class contemporary art collection
Add some culture to your Saturday and set out for Glen Carlou wine farm for an international wine tasting and an exclusive glimpse at owner and Swiss millionaire Donald Hess’s private contemporary art collection.
From its perch at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains in the Paarl wine region, the estate invites visitors to an experience that goes above and beyond the stock-standard South African sip and swirl.
While Glen Carlou’s renowned, award-winning Chardonnays are certainly available for tasting – along with its Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhône-Style reds and more – it’s the opportunity to sample reds and whites from as far as Argentina to Australia, and to appreciate the meticulously-sourced paintings, sculptures and installations that rest in the on-site Hess Museum of Contemporary Art that offer an enticing departure from a ‘typical’ day in the Winelands.
By tasting vintages from the farm’s foreign brother and sister vineyards (other members of the Hess Family Estates collective), guests can expand their wine repertoire and palate without the added hassle and expense of actually travelling abroad. Indulge in Cuvée from the volcanic slopes of Mount Veeder in Napa Valley, robust reds from the heart of Shiraz country in Australia, and Malbec from the highest vineyard in the world, a farm in the northern part of the Calchaqui Valley in Argentina.
Similarly, treat yourself to an equally international taste – the work is sourced from artists hailing from all corners of the world – of exquisite contemporary art. The exhibition space, which is conveniently adjacent to the tasting room-cum-bistro in Glen Carlou’s handsome visitor centre, boasts only a sliver of Donald’s impressive collection, but nonetheless, it affords a rare opportunity to appreciate the creative prowess of both famous and emerging artists.
As it turns out, Donald likes his art like he likes his wine: new world, relevant, full of integrity and capable of inciting a profound response; it follows, then, that the pieces on show always uphold a certain lofty standard.
What’s more, the surprisingly deceptive elevation of the estate’s tasting room affords sweeping views of the valley unravelling below. Thus, there’s no need to journey much farther on a Saturday in the Winelands; for breathtaking vistas, brilliant wine and sublime contemporary art, head to Glen Carlou!
Price of Wine Tasting at Glen Carlou
Whereas entrance to the Hess Museum of Contemporary Art is free, the wine tasting will set you back a minimal amount:
- The international tasting costs R50 p/p and includes a samplingof five wines: two Glen Carlou wines, one wine from the Hess Collection in Napa Valley, one wine from Peter Lehmann wines in Australia and one wine from Colomé in Argentina.
- The prestige tasting costs R35 p/p and includes a sampling of five wines: two Glen Carlou single-vineyard premium wines and three Glen Carlou classic wines.
- The classic tasting costs R25 p/p and includes a sampling of five Glen Carlou classic wines.
Aside from its wine tasting and art collection, the farm also boasts a restaurant that serves up top-notch bistro-style fare. Find out more about eating at Glen Carlou.