Mitchell Gilbert Messina's mock-ups and sketches in Woodstock are all about aspiration
Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards is Where Family Comes Together in Franschhoek
The Franschhoek vineyard that leaps ahead in family style wine and dine experiences
A family style vineyard? Is that even a thing? Walk into Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards and you will know what it means to feel at home. From the beautiful open-plan wine tasting area with its soft natural light and circular serving area to the 20-seater family table that puts you at the cutting edge of its kitchen and delicious cuisine, every inch has been artfully designed to bring family and sharing together. It’s no coincidence Leopard’s Leap has “family vineyards” engraved into their logo.
A family you will want to spend more time with
Trust us. This is one family you’ll want to be a part of, even if it’s just for a leisurely Sunday lunch, which is served rotisserie and harvest table style. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, this sociable option lets guests create their own plate, with a choice of four succulent free-range meats on the spit (think crispy pork belly, tender lamb neck and chicken) and a buffet-style table laden with home-baked bread and fresh seasonal salads sourced from the farm’s own vegetable and herb garden. The dining experience is just as fun and relaxed. Even the indoor seating area, with its glass doors, open onto sweeping lawns, making you feel like you might be sitting in your favourite auntie’s back garden. Of course, the Leopard’s Leap family just happen to be related to the prestigious La Motte family, so their back garden might be a bit bigger and lined with family vineyards older than your grandmother’s grandma.
A wine collection as diverse as the South African family
Like any good South African family, this one celebrates its diversity with four different wine ranges, each catering for a different palette, occasion and budget. The entry-level Lookout range is perfect for a night in or a family braai. For your more celebratory occasions, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the Classic Range and full-bodied Family Collection. And let’s not forget those big family milestones, when you’ll want to bring out the signature Culinaria Collection, which can only be bought on the wine farm and includes an elegant MCC. And while each range differs in price and prestige, all the Leopard’s Leap wines are crafted by head winemaker Renier van Deventer and exported to over 40 countries worldwide. But no matter how popular they become, this is one family vineyard that is proud to say they specialise in producing quality vintages at affordable prices that are ideal for everyday enjoyment. Now that’s a philosophy worth toasting too, again and again.
Family style by design
Can we just mention the beautiful building for a second? It’s really the heart and hearth of this family vineyard. Designed in 2012 by celebrated Cape Town architect, Mokena Makeka, this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired building marries a graphic steel exterior with a warm interior that includes high ceilings, glass, wood and a stylish use of space. It’s the home you wished you had built, at once modern, edgy and hip but also warm and in harmony with its beautiful natural surroundings. What better place to spend some quality family time doing a wine tasting, sharing a delicious meal or even doing a creative cooking demonstration, which they offer by appointment only.
Weekends are celebrated in this family
Let’s not forget that this is a Franschhoek family, and if there’s one thing that this beautiful heritage town prides itself on, it’s knowing how to bring food, people and wine together on the weekends. And Leopard’s Leap is no exception, which is why they have some added extras for families and friends to enjoy every weekend.
On Friday’s at noon, you can join Leopard’s Leap top chef, Pieter de Jager, and one of Leopard’s Leap’s knowledgeable Wine Tasting Ambassadors for the Culinaria Food and Wine Pairing – a tasting of the six wines in the Leopard’s Leap premier Culinaria Collection, each paired with an ideal food partner, for R195 per person. Booking essential.
On the weekends, the winery creates a range of unique wine cocktails, each one using ingredients that complement and enhance the natural flavours of the wine. These creative creations include options like a cranberry Rosé Cosmopolitan, a pineapple-based Sauvignon Blanc Cooler and a cinnamon-edged Chardonnay Margarita blended from unwooded Chardonnay, apple syrup, lime juice and Cinzano Bianco, steeped in the essence of apple pie.
Sundays are all about family which is why, in addition to the popular rotisserie and harvest table, the restaurant creates a special table on the edge of the kitchen – the Family Table. This exclusive experience will put your family and friends within sniffing distance of the kitchen, where a dedicated waiter will serve up to 20 guests (10 ensures exclusivity) delicious wines and food plates from the rotisserie and harvest table at a cost of R375 per person (excludes beverages and 10% service charge). Sundays only. Booking essential.
Celebrating the South African Table
A new addition to the family offering is the unique and delicious South African Table – a food and wine pairing that celebrates local and lekker foods in South Africa in a way that encourages the swapping of stories and personal experiences. This is not about experiencing fine dining heritage foods. This is about celebrating local ingredients and the cultures and climates that influence and give rise to South Africa’s unique and local recipes. Offered exclusively for one hour on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday, and led by Leopard’s Leap top chef, Pieter de Jager, and one of Leopard’s Leap’s knowledgeable Wine Tasting Ambassadors, come prepared to have your palate tickled and pickled in new and exciting ways. No two dishes or events are alike, so we won’t blame you if you come back time and time again, for “cultural purposes” of course.
This unique South African Table experience costs R250pp and booking is a must.
Tip: The visitor’s centre has a curated culinary shop that stocks beautiful local design and food products, including trendy aprons, stylish knives, culinary equipment and recipe books.
And, if you want to take it a step further and upgrade your culinary skills, you’ll love these cooking classes in Cape Town.
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