We’ve been in South Africa for over a week now, so it was about time that we visited one of the renowned wineries. As usual, Kevin and Vanessa had a better idea, we’d visit two.
Our first stop was La Motte, located in the Franschhoek Valley. Why Franschhoek and not the better known Stellenbosch? Well, this meant that Kevin and Vanessa could try some new places, and we’ll be in Stellenbosch later in our trip.
La Motte’s wine heritage dates back to 1752 when the first 4,000 vines were planted. Though, if you have a look at their website, you may notice that they’re much more interested in their history since 1970 when the family that currently owns the winery purchased it.
When tasting wine, it’s nice when you can bring along your own personal sommelier.
Of course, if you don’t travel with one, the winery is more than willing to help you out with their own knowledgeable staff. The wines we tasted were all great and really inexpensive. Having little in the way of class or taste, I often didn’t get twice the enjoyment from the wines that were double the cost, but they were all good so I had no complaints.
I think the tasting (6 wines) cost around 30 or 35 rand (around $3 CDN), but if you buy some wine they waive the cost of the tasting. Needless to say, we all walked out with some wine.
The grounds of the winery are beautiful and Ella enjoyed a little time exploring before we moved into the next stop.
Ooooh, a pic-a-nic basket!
A short drive later we arrived at our next stop, Boschendal Estate.
Founded in 1692, Boshendal is set in the Drakenstein Valley and framed by a stunning mountain backdrop.
In addition to the winery, Boschendal is a working farm with a range of activities. They’re also a member of the WWF Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, which I think has something do to with getting those actors who wrestle on TV to drink a better and more diverse class of wine.
Truth be told, we didn’t actually see the inside of Boschendal. Despite this, I’d say it was the highlight of the day.
Earlier that morning when we were making final arrangements for the day, Kevin called to ask if we would rather a picnic or a restaurant for lunch. I chose picnic. Sure it may have been dumb luck on my part, but it turned out to be a great decision.
A picnic at Boschendal is not like what the word conjures up in my mind. Spread at nice distances there are tables under big trees offering lots of shade. Enough that when our big umbrella blew over, we didn’t bother opening it up again once it had been righted.
The food is delivered in, of course, a picnic basket. The baskets look so tempting, that some can’t help having a peek.
This being a winery, it’s also a great place to brush up on your tasting skills if you happen to be a travelling sommelier.
All that delicious food and bubbly can leave you a little drowsy. If that’s the case, and you’re lucky, some nice dad might bring you a special treat.
Which of course you would share with your new friend. Even though gravity might bring you a little closer together than either of you intended.
Those with a little more energy might choose to check out the Koi pond.
After a lovely afternoon at Boschendal we all made our way back to Cape Town. For Katy and I, this meant a quick detour through a random suburb after a small miscommunication with TomTom. Fortunately, the opportunity to tail Kevin earlier in the day meant I was relatively comfortable driving on the left hand side. Lots of driving to go though. Still lots of time to embarrass myself.
Back in town, it was a quick turn around at the apartment before heading over to Kevin and Vanessa’s place for our final dinner with them. Tomorrow they head back to Toronto for the holidays. Will we survive on our own? Will one of us get eaten by a shark or monkey now that we have no adult supervision? Come back and find out.
One sad aside
Unfortunately, the drive from Boschendal to Cape Town also came with a reminder that South Africa has a very high rate of fatal traffic accidents. Seeing a motorcyclist on the side of the road covered by a sheet and another sitting in the ditch clearly in shock was also a stark reminder why we’ll be discouraging Ella from that mode of transportation.