It’s the second installment of Our Minds Festival
Exploring the Robertson Wine Valley
Indulge your inner hedonist with a weekend in the Winelands
Sheets of avocado and lime-coloured fields whizz passed, and a drove of happy piglets catch my eye as we make our way to the famed Route62.
As we exit the Huguenot Tunnel, the horizon seems to shake the city soil from its feet and soars into tumbling hills and trickling streams flow through the valley beside the highway.
Suddenly I’m ravenous for the fresh, sweet air of the countryside and the slow pace and inviting lure of small-town living.
The Robertson Wine Valley, which is known as the world’s longest wine route, runs along Route62 following the Langkloof. It’s made up of the towns of Robertson, Bonnievale, McGregor, Ashton and Montagu cupped between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges with the Breede River flowing through the valley and my destination of choice for an idyllic, epicurean adventure.
The red-roofed buildings of Rooiberg Winery are the gateway to the Robertson Wine Valley and our introduction to the valley. The estate is home to Africa’s largest red chair and the ‘love-lock wall’ where lovers seal their commitment to each other by attaching a padlock inscribed with their names to the wall, locking their hearts together forever.
This beautiful estate reminds me of bygone eras where you’d stop to stretch your legs during a long family road trip and fuel up on the quaint farm stall’s ‘padkos’ then pack the car with freshly baked pastries, breads and farm fare while the kids twirl around on the lawn and frolic in the playground.
It’s the ideal destination to enjoy an alfresco lunch paired with one of the winery’s award-winning wines or on cooler days kick up your heels and unwind with a cuppa by the fire or feast on a wholesome meal from Bodega de Vinho.
Information: Route 62 | Robertson
Further along Route62 is the Robertson home of Graham Beck Wines. A sip of the estate’s Methode Cap Classique (MCC) is sure to entice any bubbly enthusiast, but it’s when you visit the Robertson Cellar, Madeba, that the sparkling brand is cemented in your heart. The Graham Beck Robertson Cellar is clothed in distinctive hues of peach, green and purple, effortlessly blending into the surrounding Klein Karoo veld.
Take a tour of the picturesque estate and soak up decade’s worth of heritage and passion. Sip on their glistening MCC’s while admiring the Beck’s personal art collection for a real treat.
Information: Route62 | Robertson
www.grahambeckwines.co.za | email@example.com | +27 (0)23 626 1214
Le Roux & Fourie Vignerons
Le Roux and Fourie is the wine valleys best kept secret. The loveable estate is drenched in rustic country charm and dotted with murals painted by the matriarch herself along with bits and pieces that each tell a story. The hidden gem is home to an alluring eatery where you’re invited to tuck in to homemade hearty fare and sip on the wine farm’s enticing reds and crisp white wines.
Information: Route62 | Robertson
MO & ROSE at Soekershof Wine Bistro
A cloud of tranquillity is permanently suspended over the grounds of this idyllic boutique hotel and wine bistro. The bistro is ensconced in a beautifully renovated old bar and surrounded by a magical garden of succulent plants and trees.
The swoon-worthy dishes created by the kitchen is a celebration of the joy of eating (I had the best meal of my life here) and the entire experience is wrapped in moments of pure perfection – whether you’re sipping on a nightcap by the roaring fire or lapping up the last bit of sun amongst the cacti, it’s all blooming blissful.
Information: KlaasVoogds West | Robertson
Ballinderry Guest House
Stepping in to Ballinderry Guest House, you’re immediately cocooned with care. Belgian owners Hilde and Luc’s hospitality is unsurpassed and each aspect of the picturesque guest house reflects it.
Enjoy the crisp air and tranquillity of the estate’s tropical garden or splash around in the pool on warm summer nights. Whatever you do, don’t leave without biting into one of Hilde’s culinary delights.
Information: 8 Le Roux Street | Robertson | +27(0)23 626 5365
Bon Courage Estate
The manor house at Bon Courage Estate will be the first thing to catch your eye, and in spring it’ll be how the gorgeous colours of the blossoming bougainvillea complete the setting.
The estate’s chic Café Maude does a lovely champagne breakfast (2009 Jacques Bruere Cuvee Brut Rose is highly recommended), whether you opt to have it inside or beneath the old African pepper tree where an owl has made her nest.
The heart of Bon Courage lies beneath the distillery where the hauntingly beautiful medieval cellar is housed and where the tradition and heritage of the Bruwer family is imprinted.
Information: R317 | Robertson
Klipdrift Brandy Distillery and Brandewyntuin Restaurant
At Klipdrift Brandy Distillery the clock is always set to 8:02 and legend has it that the creator’s first drop of glistening liquid flowed at exactly that hour. Visit the clock bar for superb brandy cocktails or enjoy sublime sweet and savoury pairings while experiencing the journey of brandy from grape to glass.
It’s said that you can taste South Africa is a single moment with a sip of brandy and a bite of their sweet spicy bobotie. It’s a place where your senses are taken on a pilgrimage and you’ll bask in golden moments.
Information: 4 Voortrekker Avenue | Robertson
Springfield Estate lies on the banks of a lake, surrounded by vineyards, rolling hills and sprawling lawns. Their belief that wine is grown not made is apparent when that first sip trickles down your throat. Simply allow yourself to be drawn to the water’s edge and enjoy a picnic and a glass of Miss Lucy. Then maybe visit the adorable Springboks who live nearby and etch the happy faces you’re surrounded by into your mind – this is what le good life looks like!
Information: R317 | Robertson
On the other side of Cogmanskloof Pass, the majestic landscape of towering rock formations and colourful pastoral patchwork is Mimosa Lodge, a place that reveals its magnificence gradually. Driving through the quaint town of Montagu, you’ll be happy to be heading to this lodge. Upon arrival you’re immersed in a warm welcome and its beauty begins to unfold. First, it’s the feeling that you’ve just returned home. Then, walking through the long wood-floored passageway peeking in to each room you pass you’ll notice contented guests curled up with a book in the library, sipping on a drink at the bar or tucking in to a meal in the restaurant all while delectable aromas arise from the kitchen. Then the magic really begins. As you step out of the manor house the world opens up to you. Imagine moss-covered mountains in your backyard and pebbled pathways surrounded by roses and dotted with lavender leading you to a garden suites. These huge spaces are fitted with king sized plush beds and reading nooks by the window, overlooking the mountains and rose garden.
My experience at Mimosa Lodge was completed with a three-course dish created by Chef Bernhard Hess, of which every bite pleased my palate.
Meander the streets of Montagu and discover all the beauty the little town is home to.
Information: 19 Church Street | Montagu
RiverGold Wine Estate
The valley of cheese and wine is the impeccable spot for a classic pairing, and the bank of the lake at RiverGold is just the spot for a picnic. The estate’s outlying river streams through the gardens, surrounded by lush vineyards and supreme architecture. The estate marries the essence of the 19th century farmhouse and cellar with modern finesse Unwind on the lawn and witness one of the majestic Winelands sunsets.
Information: R317 Stormsvlei Road | Bonnievale
The valley truly lives up to its reputation – small towns, with big heart.
For more information visit www.robertsonwinevalley.com
Image Credit: Alfred Thorpe | Bon Courage |Guy Mcdonald | RiverGold Estate
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