Getting a Bit Sloshed in the Wine Region

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2013

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Thursday, July 18, 2013

18th July – Wine tour to Stellenbosch

Most people know that I don't like wine and pretty much only ever choose to drink it is I’m planning on getting drunk. So there was an aim to the day; for me to find a wine I liked whilst getting drunk!  Laura and Rich being the connoisseurs of wine, their aim was to simply enjoy and drink.  An easy aim for an easy day with the Wine Flies wine tour company.

We were picked up at 8am which in comparison to the last 2 days was a lie in.  Mainly by choice of Rich having spent 6 nights in Longstreet, we agreed to move hostel to Ashanti Hostel which was just a 5 minute walk from Longstreet but in a bit nicer area and with much nicer rooms and facilities.  So we made use of the fact we had a taxi picking us up then going to Ashanti, to move our luggage for us.  I don’t think the remainder of people in the minibus we’re appreciative of this but the driver did us a favour by saying that sometimes he doesn’t get out of Cape Town until 10, and it was only 8:30!

The structure of the day was 5 wineries, with lunch in the middle at some point plus cheese, olives and chocolate tasting.  The first winery Fairview is known for its goats, that live in a little castle, and the cheeses they make that are coupled with wines; a normal concept to most but something completely new to me.  We were quickly shown the huge metal containers in which the wine was fermented and told the wine tasting process, the "S’s": Swirl, Smell, Sight, Sip, Savour, Spit.  We were obviously leaving out the last option.  We had 6 wines, 3 white, 3 red, each coupled with a different type of cheese.  Surprisingly I was not a fan of the wines, though the sweet red I would say was my favourite if I had to have one.  I was more interested in the cheeses – we had feta, camembert, white rock cheese with apricot, cream cheese with chakalaka (a mixed spice powder), Chevin cheese with garlic and herbs (soooo garlicy!) and a blue cheese.  The apricot and camembert were my favourites.

We moved onto Viliera where we had another 7 wine tastings in front of a log fire and I managed to find a British blue cat, which to be honest I was more interested in than the wines!  We also had some biltong to go with the wines; a dried and cured, raw meat.  The one we had was beef, and the pot just kept coming back to Laura and I who were loving it, whilst the fact that the pot came back with relatively no more taken out suggested we were some of the few enjoying it.  Rich hated it!  On the way to our next stop, the driver had a tradition to wear hats.  Laura and I took this one step further by wearing them to our next stop was for lunch. We had a beef sausage and honey, mustard chicken with the traditional Braai toastie; quite a weird concept for us doing toasties on the BBQ but it works!  With lunch we had another 2 wines, 1 of which was an actual full glass.

The next winery was an underground one, and to my dismay, a winery that specialised in red wines so I wasn’t the happiest taster having only 1 white tasting and 4 red.  Our final winery, Arabella, was owned by a former SA rugby player so was rather a famous one.  He was there during our tastings.  At this point Laura and I were wondering where the olives were coming into the tour, and when Laura asked our guide said they didn’t do that.  When Laura showed him the flyer, he disappeared as soon as he’d dropped us off at the last place and came back with a jar of olives!  Yum.  Here we had 6 more wine tastings with the olives and a dark chocolate (which Rich and I managed to eat a lot of before it was actually passed round) before moving onto the brandy; so if anyone wasn’t feeling the effects by this point, they soon would!

The journey back gave us another cup of white wine, courtesy of the wine tour company and with everyone feeling rather merry we attempted to make plans for the evening, arriving back in Cape Town around 5:30pm.  Back in our new hostel with a nice room and really nice comfortable beds, we soon started thinking of food and decided on pancakes (we happened to have a mixture to use) but as soon as the food was in, our energy was out and resorted to watching the remainder of a movie from Port Elizabeth before calling it a night.  Even though a fairly uneventful ending to the day, it was a really fun day and something I would definitely do again, even though I have concluded I still don’t like wine!
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