When we awoke this morning, a thick fog had descended on Cape Town. Fortunately, most of the fog burned off by the time we were ready to embark on our day of tastings in the Cape Winelands, leaving only a misty haze in the distance.
Our first stop was the Spice Route Winery in Paarl, which means “pearl” in Afrikaans and is named after a granite mountain that gives off a pearlescent shine after the rains.
We tasted six excellent local wines and enjoyed a lovely view. In addition to wine tastings, the Spice Route Winery offers a great introduction to an array of South African and African fine foods, from cured meats to chocolates to craft beer.
We took the Wine Route from Paarl to Franschhoek, an area settled by Huguenots in the seventeenth century, stopping outside Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), where Nelson Mandela spent the last 14 months of his political imprisonment for resisting apharteid.
We had a gourmet lunch at La Petit Ferme Wine Estate in Franschhoek.
After lunch, we enjoyed a walk through downtown Franschhoek to take in its small gardens, contemporary African art galleries, jewelry and craft shops, and chocolatiers. Then it was on to Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest European settlement after Cape Town and home to Stellenbosch University. We saw many fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture, with its stucco walls and thatch roofs.
By then it was late afternoon, and we had burned off all the wine from the morning’s tastings. We stopped at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel in Stellenbosch for another tasting featuring two white dinner wines, two reds, and a dessert white wine.
By the time we were done with our tasting, the sun was out in full force. What a beautiful conclusion to our journey through the Cape Winelands!
See more of the day’s photos on our Flickr page.
(This post was written by Kathryn Kingsbury, Ujuzi’s communications coordinator.)