Trudie is a traveler at heart and Wine News Editor & Social Media Manager for Wine.co.za by trade. Her idea of perfect happiness involves cats, Bob Dylan in the background and a glass of Chardonnay in hand.
It’s not fun to kiss summer picnics and late sunsets goodbye. But once again we are reminded why the love of wine is such a great romance, you can trade in your chilled whites for some warming reds and wineries have always got your back with their amazing winter offerings. There is bound to be a roaring fire or a special winter menu waiting to welcome you in the winelands.
Here’s a round-up of five of my favourite winelands experiences in winter.
1. Getting cosy in the Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet Wine Estate
A welcoming fire and a glass of wine in hand are probably two of the best winter comforts. You can find both, and much more, at Zandvliet Wine Estate in the Robertson Wine Valley.
Their Kalkveld Lounge will feel like home, full of warmth and will make you want to stay the whole day. There are enough activities to keep you busy for a day or two as well, starting with a citrus and wine pairing. Citrus and wine might sound like an odd pair, but trust me, Zandvliet is also the home of the ClemenGold brand and they really know what they’re doing when it comes to citrus. It’s a really delicious and fun pairing.
The estate also offers visitors a rare opportunity of blending and bottling their own wine. You get to play winemaker and create your own blend, bottle, cork and wax seal it and then name your genius creation to take home and brag about. They offer accommodation so you can book your stay in the valley and explore a bit more.
2. Haute Cabrière Restaurant keeps the fire burning
You will see a lot of food in this article, but its winter and we can worry about summer bodies later (or never).
Chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley are embracing winter cooking as the cold weather lends itself perfectly to serving up comfort food. “Our winter menu is inspired by robust flavours and a feeling of comfort, featuring dishes that evoke a sense of nostalgia and fulfillment, tempting diners to venture outdoors despite the colder temperatures.” Expect dishes like slow braised beef shin with creamy thyme polenta and bone marrow, and homemade pasta with pan-fried prawns, chili and garlic.
The Haute Cabrière dining room’s cosy fireplace creates the perfect setting for hearty winter food. Choose between their Two Course dinner at R230, their Sunday Feast at R370 or Six Course Tasting Menu at R450.
3. A Winter Escape to Riebeek Valley
Escape to olive country in Riebeek Kasteel with a weekend stay at Kloovenburg Estate’s renovated Victorian styled accommodation. Elegance meets small-town hospitality in this part of the world. You will be treated to good wines and great olives too.
The valley has great restaurants to dine at and the iconic Royal Hotel is a must-stop for a drink. The Riebeek Cellars Wine Shop in the town centre is a great stop to warm up with a spicy Shiraz and its inviting modern interior.
Go fill up on good food, wine and hospitality just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, although you will feel a thousand miles away from the busy city life.
4. Sunday Lunch at the Diemersdal Farm Eatery
The only way to start a Monday right is by indulging in a good Sunday lunch. The Diemersdal Eatery is dedicated to cooking with the freshest of ingredients and staying true to the current season. The Sunday menu changes according to the season, resulting in weekly changes to the menu.
This winery on the Durbanville Wine Route is well-known for their great Sauvignon Blanc but make equally good reds to accompany a great menu. The Sunday menu is priced at R275 per person for a starter, main and dessert.
5. Family fun at Eaglevlei
In winter, parents need all the help they can get. Cabin fever can set in quickly with the young ones and places like Eaglevlei offer a great escape for kids to burn off some energy in one of the largest indoor play park areas and parents can relax with a good meal and a glass of wine.
Eaglevlei is your answer to winter birthday parties, a fun family outing or just a relaxed breakfast or lunch over the weekend.
Look out for their Movies in the Vines evenings.