Drinks, food

Wineries Of The Cape

HL chatted to the author and photographer of bestseller Braai Masters of the Cape Winelands about their latest project Wineries of the Cape, a beautiful illustrated guide to some of the best wineries within an hour’s drive of the Mother City. Lindsaye, what inspired you to create this guide to Cape wineries? Every time I venture out into the Cape winelands I am inspired anew! How did you go about narrowing it down to just 56 wineries when there are hundreds to choose from? Actually, deciding which ones to leave out of the book was way harder than which to feature. Essentially we wanted to show visitors to the winelands the amazing diversity on offer, so we chose some historic properties, some old favourites, some newcomers and some of the smaller family-run wineries too. What they all have in common is that they offer a great experience to visitors. In your opinion, what sets a good winery apart from good wine? I think it’s the people – their enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge are what shone through for me. Which wineries would you suggest to locals who’ve visited many wineries but are looking for a unique experience? There’s always something new happening in the winelands. Grande Provence, for example, now offers groups of six the opportunity to make their own blend, so I’ll be going back to try that. At Simonsig you can do a tasting that pairs bubbly with cake for those with a sweet tooth. The Bakery at Jordan opened late last year so I’ll be driving out to the Stellenboschkloof to try that too. And a caracal was recently spotted sitting in a tree at Waterford Estate so I’m hoping to do a guided walk soon and hopefully be lucky enough to see it! The list is endless. I personally also love visiting the boutique wineries but many of them are by appointment only. You get to taste hand-crafted wines and meet the passionate winemakers behind the smaller, less well-known labels. When would you say is the best time of the year to visit the Cape wineries? Call me biased but I’d say all year round. It’s lovely to escape the heat of summer by taking a cellar tour, sipping chilled white wine under a shady tree or enjoying a long, lazy al fresco lunch on a veranda with a view. Harvest time buzzes with excitement too. On a cold, rainy winter’s day it’s wonderful to enjoy red wine next to a roaring fire in a cosy tasting room. And the beautiful gardens – for example Babylonstoren’s and Vergelegen’s – are worth a visit with the changing of each season too. Erica, you’ve managed to capture each winery’s unique essence through your images. Which was your favourite winery to photograph and why? Each winery is an experience unlike the next and that for me is the wonder of the Cape wineries. It is so diverse and there is honestly, something for everybody. Personally I love the historic gables but also enjoy the more contemporary, edgy styles, so Babylonstoren is an absolute joy to visit and photograph because it marries both taste sensibilities with such class. However, when it comes to this project Beaumont was also high on my list. It was so totally different to all the others – quirky and rustic, it was an honest example of what a family-run farm in South Africa is like. And what a pleasure to find a row of bikes leaning against wine barrels in the cellar. For more information about Wineries of the Cape, visit jonathanball.co.za. Interviewed by Astrid Sanders