Enjoying Plettenberg Bay’s blossoming wine scene

There’s a lot to love about Plettenberg Bay – Nature’s Valley, the coast, the hikes, and Robberg Nature Reserve – but this town on the East Coast is slowly but surely asserting itself as the new kid on the wine scene.

The area has 20 wine farms in total, a small number in comparison to the 300 in Stellenbosch. However, the boutique wines being produced by Plettenberg Bay’s wineries are punching their weight in terms of quality. The coastal climate and the summer rains that grace the region provide the ideal environment for growing smooth white grapes. It’s no surprise that some of the area’s unique Sauvignon Blancs and MCC’s have begun to receive international renown.

Lodestone Wines, an idyllic spot to taste wine. Image credit: Welcome Lishivha

The Newstead Lund Family Vineyard’s MCC Brut and Rosé have both won double gold Michelangelo awards and the farm has received gold for every year that it has produced MCC. Newstead’s very first Sauvignon Blanc won the Michelangelo Gold Standard too. The farm also produces Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir – all of the wines coming from a young seven-hectare vineyard and made by former South African polo player, Doug Lund. Doug and his wife Sue (who’s known for her hospitality to visitors and the farm staff in equal measure) initially bought the farm for polo, because of Doug’s passion for the sport. Polo remains very much a part of their lives along with winemaking.

Newstead’s scrumptious wood. Image credit: Welcome Lishivha

Newstead is a quaint, small farm and Sue’s hands-on approach makes you feel like you’re visiting her home rather than a restaurant. She says the restaurant started after a German lady knocked on her door asking to use the bathroom and for directions because she had been lost. Sue prepared some lunch for her and offered her some of the wine they were making. The following week, the German came back with her friends for one of Sue’s meals because it had been that good – and with that Newstead’s restaurant was born.

Also in the area, the scenic Kay and Monty Vineyards is a five-hectare wine farm that prides itself in producing a small amount of handcrafted artisinal wines. Also initially bought as a polo estate, it was one of the first farms to grow grapes and make wine in the region after Bramon, the region’s oldest farm.

A visit to the stables at Kay and Monty. Image credit: Welcome Lishivha

 

Lodestone Wine and Olives is a farm so senic that it provides calm to the most stressed of souls. In addition to wine tasting you can taste the olives grown at Lodestone too, which we highly reccommend.

Olives, olive oil and ciabatta bread at Lodestone. Image credit: Welcome Lishivha

The small wine farms in the region use the Bramon Wine Estate cellar for their wine production and most are working on building their own cellars. This is with the exception of Lodestone which just recently built its own cellar, as well as Packwood and Plettenvale. The first vines were planted by the owner’s of the estate, Caroline and Peter Thorpe. At Bramon Wine Estate, visitors can enjoy their food and award winning wines among the vineyards, along with the farm’s MCC produced with Sauvignon Blanc grapes – Bramon was the first wine estate in the country to produce a Sauvignon Blanc MMC.

The juice from the grapes in the area have a vry low PH level and the wines have almost no sulphites. This is good news for those who would prefer to avoid sulpher.

Plett Winelands Association and Plettenberg Bay Tourism have partnered to organise the Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival , the next of which will take place from 23 – 24 March 2019. The event will showcase about 30 of the finest wines from the region, with a specific focus on the MCC, to pair with artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, breads, savouries, and oysters.


Stay here:

The Old Rectory Hotel

This is the oldest building in Plettenberg Bay and has now been turned into a five-star hotel that’s located within a two-minute walk away from the beach. Originally built in 1777, the building has been through a transformative 240 years. The design of the hotel keeps all this heritage in mind along with a luxurious touch. Its rooms are colourful and equipped with a mini bar, TV, Wi-Fi, a hairdryer, a safe, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, bottled water, underfloor heating, and robes. There’s a spa, restaurant and bar on sight too for those looking to indulge.
Cost: from R7,800 per night.
Contact: visit rareearth.co.za/the-old-rectory-summary and email [email protected]

Bramon Self-catering cottage

This self-catering cottage is located right at the top of Buffel’s gorge with surrounding lush green trees. From the balconies of each of the two en-suite rooms and the lounge area, one gets a soothing view of the Tsitsikamma mountains with a waterfall in sight.
Cost: from R2,000 for the cottage
Contact: visit bramonwines.co.za

Newstead’s new self-catering cottages

The stylish, newly-built self-catering cottages, named Pinot 1 and Pinot 2 are located at the stables and on inspection I noted the comfort and attention to detail. Sue’s very excited about sharing this part of their property with guests, so look out for the official opening of the cottages up and be sure to visit.

newsteadwines.co.za

Words and photos: Welcome Lishivha