Galileo Picnic Thursdays are held in Cape Town’s most popular botanical garden
Drink top Cap Classique and view game at Villiera Wines
It’s also one of SA’s most forward-thinking eco-wine estates
There are many aspects that Villiera Wines, in Stellenbosch, is proud of: its excellent Cap Classiques, premium-quality red and white wines, enduring family tradition, and also its thorough and constantly evolving environmental ethics.
You can explore this remarkable wine estate through two experiences: the wine tastings open to the public, and also game drives (and yes, wine is included in the trip).
DO A WINE TASTING, BUY THE WINE
Wine tasting is always the first step on a wine farm, so here is the breakdown of what Villiera produces: 40% Cap Classique, and 30% each of red and white wines.
The estate has won many awards for both, and the reserves in particular are worth trying. The wine tasting happens in the Wine Sanctuary, and there’s also a charming outside space under old oak trees for when the weather is good.
The farm’s Cap Classiques are ranked as some of the best in the country, especially the reserve sparkling wines, which are more of an investment. A standard tasting costs only R40 per person for six wines, while the reserve tasting costs extra.
SEE KUDU, SPRINGBUCK AND GIRAFFE
Villiera has always been a step ahead when it comes to environmental awareness, with a huge focus on solar energy, water conservation and natural methods of pest control. In 2009, it joined forces with two neighbours and formed a wildlife sanctuary that is 220 hectares large.
The area has 12 dams, which attract a remarkable diversity of birdlife. A number of buck species have been introduced, including the regal kudu and national mascot the springbok. Most magically, you’ll also find giraffes wandering in this wine territory. The drive takes about two hours and includes a wine tasting.
...AND LOOK AT ALL THE TREES
The area you’ll drive through also has been planted with about 100 000 indigenous trees, a large number of which are spekboom, which absorb carbon. The rehabilitation is helping to return diversity to the land, which a guide will talk about.
It has done this as part of a social project: Villiera staff planted seedlings in milk containers and took care of them, and when they were ready for transplanting, these were then bought by the farm and planted in the land. It’s a remarkable project that shows what kinds of social innovation are possible.
TAKE NOTE OF THE GREEN ETHOS
Villiera has spent years shifting its farming practices to be more eco-friendly. Already in 2000, it stopped using pesticides, opting for ducks to control the snails and bugs instead. In 2010 it installed a large solar-powered generation facility, which supplies most of the farm’s energy needs outside of harvest time, and it also uses a wide range of sustainable farming methods.
For example, tractors are utilised as little as possible to avoid compacting the soil and burning unnecessary fuel, plus the farm makes efforts to attract birds of prey to control smaller birds that might eat the grapes.
WHERE TO FIND VILLIERA WINES
Address: Cnr R101 & R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Contact: 021 865 2002
Hours: Mon-Friday + public holidays, 9am-5pm; Sat, 9am-3pm.
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