The Winelands

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another quaint breakfast and we were off to see the wineries. We showed up at the first winery before they really opened so we were the only ones there, but that just made the dogs more interested in playing with us and the sommelier looser with his pours! Boekenhoutskloof ( was a very small winery that was clearly family run as we walked into their house where they were having breakfast with their two babies by mistake.  However, what the wine farm lacked in size, it made up in flavor and, we later found out, in critical acclaim.  The Porcupine Ridge label was very nice, as was the Wolftrap, but the big winner was a wine called the Chocolate Block (love the names)!!! The best part:  once we had drank our fill (mind you it wasn't even 10:30am yet) I went to check out and we discovered that everything was free!  I didn't even buy a bottle as the owner told us to just buy it in the states as it would be cheaper than sending it home.  What a nice family and winery!

Next stop was the Cabriere Estate at Haute Cabriere (, which is well known for its sparkling wine and champagnes.  We did a tour of the underground winery here and saw the cellar, how they make their wines, and even how they fashion chairs from the wood of used barrels. Apparently we had just missed the sabrage, which is the art of opening champagne bottle with a  sword!  All the bubbles gave me a huge headache the next day but it was well worth the visit.  I'm sure a few of you would recognize the Pierre Jourdan flagship label if you saw it.

Stopping in the tiny, yet beautiful town of Franschoek for lunch, we walked around and sat at a great bistro where the food continued to impress my most demanding palate. Next stop on our wine tour, which had begun to slow in pace as we continued to drink more wine, was Boschendal ( where we sat outside and each tasted another 5 or 6 wines (the numbers begin to get hazy here).  Near the end we watched as a Norwegian version of The Bachelor set up to shoot what looked to be a funny segment in which the girls would have to stomp on grapes to fill up bottles. There was one huge difference with the American version though... the girls were all 40 and older yet the guy seemed to be about 30!

Driving over a beautiful ridge to Stellenbosch (the 2nd of 4 famous wine valley towns), we made a pit stop at Lanzerac wineries (  Lanzerac is owned by the father of a Clare Wiese, whom I went to Exeter Academy Summer School with when I was in high school. Despite not hearing back from her I felt like I should make a stop at her family's place and was rewarded with some of the best wine and cheese of the trip (apparently, they have a cheese farm as well).  No one from the family was there so we moved on to yet another cute B&B (there were so many) Rustenbosch Guest House ( that had just opened.  We cooled off in the pool for a bit and relaxed away from the overwhelming heat that the wine had made unbearable.

As it was Jen's last night in the country, we went to one of the nicest restaurants we could find and wound up at one of the best restaurants I've ever been to! Tokara ( was set on a wine farm (figures) overlooking the entire Stellenbosch valley with a sunset to die for.  The food was delectable and the dessert was amazing!  My first ice cream since I left the states and it was gooood!!!  We ended the night by taking Chico up a mountain to star gaze off his hood.  We saw a few shooting stars and talked before heading back to our B&B and falling asleep while watching some Afrikans soap opera!
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Where I stayed
Rustenbosch Guesthouse
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