As part of our trip we spent a couple of days drinking wine. A lot of wine! Surrounded by beautiful scenery. It was great! We based ourselves in Stellenbosch and managed to fit in 7 vineyards over a couple of days, one day on our own and one day as part of a private tour.
In Stellenbosch we walked around looking at all the bookshops and little galleries. It is such a beautiful place to just wander or stop for a coffee or brunch. We obviously stopped to see the famous 'Oom Samie Se Winkel' again with all its little goodies too!
On the day we drove ourselves around (well, Chris drove us which was so kind and a huge sacrifice! :-)) we started the day at Simonsig Vineyard. Chris's brother Tony had Simonsig MCC (South African equivalent of champagne) at his wedding, and his parents have bought it ever since. We all love it, so it was so amazing to visit the vineyard! We got there pretty early and were one of the few tables there... we took our time, enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and slowly drank our wine. It was wonderful and probably the best vineyard we visited on the whole trip!
The second vineyard we visited was Delaire Graff. The main reason we chose it was I was desperate to see some of Lionel Smit's paintings and had heard there were a few there. I have followed Lionel Smit for a few years and absolutely love his huge colourful portraits. There were quite a few Lionel Smit paintings, so I was super happy. It turned out that Laurence Graff has a huge personal art collection, a lot of which is on display at his vineyard, including the famous Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff which was a wonderful surprise. Everywhere you look there are the most incredible sculptures and paintings all in the most beautiful surroundings. Absolutely stunning vineyard!
Our final stop for the day was Vergelegen, one of the oldest vineyards in the area. Chris and I have been there previously, but wanted Chris's parents to see it, as there are some lovely Dutch buildings and incredible 300 year old camphor trees. We had a lovely lunch with peacocks walking between our tables.
On day 2 our driver and tour guide Tarryn picked us up in a minivan. Our first stop was Rustenberg Vineyard. This was a lovely small vineyard surrounded by fields of cows. I think one of the bonuses of going with a tour guide is getting to try out some of the lesser known vineyards. The big ones are beautiful, but do attract crowds of people. Rustenberg (and all the vineyards we visited on our tour) was off the beaten track... we would never have even known about it. We were the only people there so we got special attention and the wine was great!
Our second stop was Villliera, who specialise in making MCC (Méthode Cap Classique - South Africa's champagne) where we drank our wine under the trees, followed by a hearty lunch at Delheim.
Our second to last stop was Uitkyk vineyard and our final stop Lavenir. At Lavenir we relaxed in a lovely garden, enjoyed some cheese and ham platters and sampled a whole lot more wine. Tarryn also showed us her champagne saber trick where she opened a bottle of champagne with the swipe of a sword.