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“And wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile.” – Alexander Pope
The Cape Winelands is one very suave gentlemen. It’s the cufflinks on Cape Town’s tuxedo. Take a date here and you’re bound to win him or her, or it, over. A friend met me for lunch at Spier Wine Estate, my accommodation for the night, and even we ended up frolicking around together by the river. Platonically, of course.
Spier is about a 45 minute drive from Cape Town in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town, after Cape Town, founded in 1679. It is a four star wine estate featuring three restaurants, a wine cellar and tasting room, and endless rolling green lawns to picnic on. I arrived at 10h30 and began drinking at 11h00.
DID YOU KNOW: The Western Cape is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and produces about 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually.
The sky was blue with wispy clouds and the lawns begging to be frolicked on. The outside terrace of the Spier Hotel Restaurant the perfect place to recline with the morning paper and a glass of Spier Creative Block 2: Sauvignon Blanc.
And then a glass of 21 Gables Chenin Blanc…, and then a Merlot from the Spier signature…, and then back to Creative Block, which the connoisseurs among us would describe as: “Beautifully clear with a distinctive green tinge. Hints of gooseberries, crushed nettle and grapefruit with lively acidity.” The Creative Block 5 is a particularly delicious Bordeaux-style blend.
I’ve dined at Spier before – at the African inspired Moyo Restaurant where people in traditional African garb sang and danced before us and people painted our faces with little white dots at our tree top tables – quite different to the usual dining experience.
The new Eight Restaurant offers something more contemporary. The food is healthy and fresh from the farm on Spier’s plot. And you need all the health you can get when glugging back so many bottles of vino. Their farm also provides many surrounding restaurants with produce, such as Majeka House‘s Makaron Restaurant.
My friend and I enjoyed the quinoa and pan roasted vegetable salad which is delicious, served with fresh farm bread. Their other meals, wafting past us on white plates to the other patrons outside, looked just as tasty – such as the chicken pie, sesame chicken salad, courgette souffle and Cape hake fish cakes.
Those little yellow treats are butter. Do not pop directly into mouth!
We followed the meal up with a romp by the river. The immense gardens and bridges traversing the river provide a great playground and one particularly ideal for picnics, with little ones included. Spier provides already-made picnics, with choices for children, vegetarians and raw foodies. Bookings are essential. Their new deli, Eight To Go, offers several tasty take-away options to line your stomach with!
On sunny days you can chill by the pools down at your room and enjoy more wine, if you can manage, on your private terrace. There’s plenty more to get up to here, though, so best not overindulge too soon. Although, if you do, there are golf carts with friendly drivers willing to chauffeur you around from place to place. Definitely a highlight for me.
Go on a segway tour of Spier
I stayed in a standard room for the night – it’s convenient, with WIFI, airconditioning and satellite TV, and a big fireplace to snuggle in front of with that deviant Merlot while you munch the complimentary Spier chocolates. The rooms are fairly simple but comfortable with a big bath to pop bubbles in. And not the champagne kind. For a more luxurious experience, you can also stay in one of the other options – the Superior Rooms or Suites.
Fancy a trip to the Cape Winelands? We can arrange a tailor-made tour for you that includes several destinations and accommodation options in the Winelands region. Go on a guided tour or self-drive. See the Cape Winelands tour options on our website or contact one of our expert travel consultants to start planning your journey.
“You have to have it in your blood, you have to grow up with the soil underneath your nails, the smell of the grapes in the air that you breathe. The cultivation of the vine was an art form. The refinement of the vine is a religion that requires pain and desire and sacrifice.” – A word on wine making, “Bottle Shock” (2008)
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Tamlin has been exploring, writing about and photographing Africa ever since her first job as a photojournalist for Getaway Magazine. She's lived on an island, eaten with lions, sailed catamarans in the Indian Ocean, tracked wild dogs with Kinglsey Holgate, and white water rafted down the Zambezi and has kept just about every airplane ticket that has crossed her hands.
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