Day 1: Think French - Think trés trés French!
The French Huguenots had one thing in mind when they first set eyes on Franschhoek in 1688 – and that was wine making! Our visit starts on the outskirts of the town, at two of Franschhoek's most respected wineries, Boekenhoutskloof, where winemaker Marc Kent was voted 2007 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, and Graham Beck Wines, known for their conservation principles which won them the Biodiversity Champion status, as well as for winning the 2007 Cap Classique Challenge for their Brut Chardonnay Pinot Noir 1994. Glen Carlou was established by the pioneering Walter Finlayson, one of South Africa’s most revered wine makers, who together with his son David, built the wineries’ reputation and statue to become one of South Africa’s premier wine producers and this is where we stop for our wine tasting and lunch at Zen, either beneath the high, wooden beams of the tasting area or outside on the terrace offering panoramic views of vineyard and mountains. (Lunch for own account)
After a leisurely lunch, we head off to Stellenbosch, South Africa's second-oldest town via Helshoogte Pass with its spectacular views, stopping for tasting of the critically lauded wines at Thelema Mountain Vineyards, once a neglected fruit farm. At the beautifully restored farm in the Simonsberg foothills, which has historical heritage status, Rustenberg, we taste, amongst others, the Caylon Trophy award winning wine before heading for the luxurious accommodation that awaits you at River Manor.
Day 2: Neil Ellis Wines
After a good night's sleep and hearty breakfast, you will be ready to meander along the Jonkershoek Valley to taste the fruits of the exceptional terroir at Neil Ellis Wines. Set at the top of a dramatic valley above Stellenbosch on the Mont Fleur Farm is De Trafford Wines where we will taste wines including Vin De Paille Straw Wine, from Chenin Blanc grapes. Pro golfer, Ernie Els’ easy flowing game continues to draw standing ovations – as do his wines, which are rooted in prime red wine country. Here we will taste his high-end blended reds. Fine wine, superb food and the magnificent panoramic views is the signature at the stylish, new Guardian Peak Restaurant, which will be our lunch stop. (Lunch for own account)
Rubicon, Bordeaux style blended wine, has been produced for 21 years and is the flagship wine of Meerlust Winery which is housed in a 315 year old building, where we will stop next. Gary and Kathy Jordan make fiercely individual wines that combine the fruity accessibility of the new world with the classic elegance of the old world. Jordan Wines commemorates the endangered Cape Dwarf Chameleon with a research bursary for a PhD candidate to study this animal found on the farm. Return to River Manor guesthouse.
Day 3: Rust en Vrede
We begin the day at the first South African estate to specialise in red wine, Rust en Vrede, established in 1694, to sample wines, which have attracted many accolades. Then on to Uva Mira perched high up on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in a pristine environment, where the vines are grown with sensitivity to the natural heritage resulting in the production of great wines. A Wine Connoisseur Tour would not be complete without a visit to one of the Cape’s most respected and historic properties, Vergelegen, named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, 2005, and Best South African Winery 2004-2007 by Wine Magazine.
Lunch will be at Lady Phillips Restaurant, named after Lady Florence Phillips who created the beauty surrounding Vergelegen. (Lunch for own account) Before leaving the exquisite Helderberg area, we pay a visit to Ken Forrester Wines. This young, boutique winery, is situated on an estate which was granted in 1689 by Simon Van Der Stel, is producing some of the most sought-after wines of the region, and is particularly renowned for its Chenin Blanc. Before the tour ends, time will be spent meandering around Stellenbosch, the historic university town, and enjoying a bit of shopping. Oom Samie se Winkel will take you into a bygone era of high street shopping. Transfer back to Cape Town.
Note: Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as it appears here; however, the final itinerary may vary due to wine producer schedules, availability, and factors beyond our control.
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