Being an experienced Garden Route traveller, it has never occurred to me to venture off the N2 highway in search of a wine farm. As South Africans, we're so used to associating Winelands with the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Cape Town areas.
Although the Plett Wine Route is the "new kid on the block", with most farms not being older than 17 years, the quality of the wines and the experiences at each farm does not disappoint. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Plett's Bubbly & Wine Route with three of my colleagues.
Boutique, bubbles and beauty
Leaving The Plettenberg Hotel after a delicious breakfast, we were ready and excited for what the day had in store for us. It was a bit rainy and chilly, but we will never let the weather dampen our spirits! Twenty minutes later, we arrive at Newstead, our first wine farm for the day.
Surprisingly busy, it's clearly a popular Friday lunch spot for the locals, which is always a good indication that we're in for a treat. And boy, we certainly were!
Newstead's wines, especially their MCC's (Méthod Cap Classique), have won multiple awards and are rated in the top 10 wines in South Africa. Their restaurant is open to the public for sit-down meals and picnics from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm.
Their motto is "We keep and simple and special", and it shows through the fresh and locally sourced ingredients on the platter we get to share in front of a roaring fireplace, with the Tsitsikamma Mountains as the backdrop. What a beautiful place. I can't wait to return here one day and tell everyone I know about this gem.
Off the beaten track with the most welcoming host
Our next stop is Lodestone, which is open for tastings by appointment only. Therefore, you do feel a bit like a VIP when entering the estate. However, when welcomed by the amiable owner Brett, there are no airs and graces. The location of the tasting venue is spectacular. It overlooks a lily-covered pond, with the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the distance. What more could you want while enjoying a delicious glass of wine?
This farm offers an extensive range of wines, from MCC to white and red wines. However, what makes the property truly special is the owner, Brett. What a privilege it was to experience tasting his wines while listening to his life stories. He shared how he started his career in corporate in Johannesburg and abroad and how he then ended up acquiring this little piece of heaven called Lodestone.
Brett has many plans for the future of Lodestone, from adding more accommodation options to the current two cottages and opening a new restaurant.
Some fun facts about the Plett Wine Route to whet your taste buds:
When are you visiting the Plett Wine Route?
The Plett Wine Route is the smallest wine region in South Africa and promises an exclusive and scenic winelands experience. It's young, exciting and thriving, and it's going to be interesting to see what the future holds for this beautiful part of the country.
The Garden Route is lucky to add this amazing winelands experience to its already long list of activities and adventures to experience as a destination.
It's a great pity that we only had time to experience two farms on this trip, but it's super exciting to know that there are almost 20 wine farms in the Plett wine region to visit on return trips to the Garden Route. Next time you're travelling along the Garden Route area, do yourself a favour and stop in at one of the wine farms on the Plett Wine Route.
Contact our Travel Experts who look forward to booking your personalised and intimate wine tasting experience that is off the beaten track.
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