The experience started with a night at The Kite House in McGregor, an expansive two bedroom home with a double volume lounge and kitchen, glass stack back doors and a gorgeous oversized view patio with views across the garden and pool to the mountains and hills in the background. This self-catering home is perfect for a weekend or longer, and I was sorry to only be there for a night. The stoep is begging to be lived on.
Once reluctantly dislodged from this beautiful home, we left McGregor for our full day of exploration, starting with a visit to Excelsior Wine Estate outside Robertson for a drive up to the highest point on the property with owner Peter de Wet, taking in the views across the land and learning about the agricultural evolution of this fifth generation farm, the fine wines they produce for the world, as well as their strong support of the community.
We tried our hands at blending our own wine, one of the activities on offer, and enjoyed a breakfast of delicious freshly baked ‘roosterbrood’ sandwiches and freshly brewed coffee on the banks of the dam.
From here no time was wasted, we headed to the boutique winery Esona for a lunch of harvest platters and a vertical tasting in their underground cellar. This tasting room has the most incredible setting in the lovingly cared for vineyard with views towards the Langeberg.
Esona is Xhosa for ‘The very One’ and the 17 ha jewel is owned by husband and wife team Rowan and Caryl Beattie, who are both involved with the property and were there to enjoy the visit with us.
From here as the day ran away with us, we moved on to Weltevrede Wine Estate outside Bonnievale for the magical experience of wine tasting in their hundred year old candlelit cellars. Available by appointment, the visit has you following flickering candles through hand-made archways, until you arrive in an area where their MCC and delicious wines are served. Accompanied by tales of the history of the area, the generations that have created lives here and the meaningful community involvement. Unique and ambience rich, we were mesmerised.
Our second night had us at the inviting Jan Harmsgat Country House for country fair and comfort, with Sunday morning starting with a game drive to the top of their land to visit the wildebeest and pomegranate trees that live side by side here.
This charming 5-Star Country House on the R60 outside Swellendam has 10 rooms and a romantic honeymoon suite. Serving delicious meals in the restaurant, they grow as much of the produce as possible and source the rest locally. Across the road there’s a 680 hectare working farm to explore, pecan and pomegranate trees and black wildebeest to enjoy from the game drive.
Sundays are about family and we spent ours visiting two iconic family farms.
The Van Loveren Family Vineyards where we had a walk around the beautiful gardens and an introduction to the trees that mark the personal and global milestones of the last decades, before sitting down for a tasting under the oak trees. Then working our way through their everyday drinking wines and Christina premium range. I love their Christina bubbly.
The weekend came to a delicious end at the newly opened Four Cousins emporium in Robertson.
A household name, the Four Retief Cousins joined forces on the family farm in the mid 90’s and are today the driving force behind the company. Hennie andNeil are the viticulturists, Bussell the winemaker and Phillip looks after the business side of things. Now showcasing their extensive range under one roof where you can dine on delicious food, tapas and pizza and enjoy the complete range of Four Cousins products, as well as the craft Boet Beer on tap.
We didn’t hold back, working our way through the uniquely and sometimes quirky match of wine, bubbly and whiskey — to a truly South African flavour. What a triumph.
This is an area so close to Cape Town, rich in tradition and family history and with such a wonderful offering, I strongly recommend you get there to experience it yourself.
Disclaimer. I was hosted throughout by arrangement of Hot Oven Marketing and Mira Weiner.
Originally published at theincidentaltourist.com on May 5, 2017.