The tipsy traveller

Posted on 7 April 2011

It took years to find a focus for my travels. I’m no architecture buff, too much of a wimp for extreme sports and while I enjoy most things, I’m not passionate enough about military history, birdlife, surfing or even sun worshipping to devote my travels to any one of them. And then I came to South Africa. Here I discovered that I did have a passion all along – I just hadn’t realised it was an acceptable one. They say you don’t find any answers at the bottom of a glass, but what about somewhere in the middle of a glass? It was there, squarely in the middle of a glass of Spier Shiraz (my first ever wine tasting experience) that I found my calling as a wandering wine lover. So I started to seek out vineyards whenever I was planning the next trip.

From hardy vines surviving in the volcanic ash of the Canary Islands to an unlikely boutique winery near Seoul, South Korea; from Canada’s midnight Icewine harvestto the deliciously under-visited Thai wine route, vino provided the perfect way to pick my next destination. Pretty soon, explorations across North America and Europe (and meeting my malt-mad fiancé) introduced me to wine’s under-appreciated cousin, beer – notably craft beer – an intricate beverage that can be sipped and sniffed and paired with food, just as wine can.

And so a passion was born; a passion that would provide much needed company to my travel obsession – the passion for a tipple or two. In my eyes there’s no better place to indulge this passion than in the country which taught me that tipsy travel is just as acceptable as travelling for food, birds or buildings. This is a country of wine lovers and beer buffs, of mampoer makers and Amarula aficionados and a country featuring countless ways to slip a little alcohol appreciation into your travels.

Of course, quaffing still plays second fiddle to travelling and I don’t want you to think I’m some booze hound. I enjoy wine and beer; I savour them and appreciate them. This blog will feature tales, tips and hints on travelling to learn about booze, not getting drunk and stumbling onto a plane, train or bus to wherever. I hope to taste the ever-increasing number of craft beers South Africa boasts, to enjoy whatever wine experience comes my way, be it a food pairing challenge or a horse ride through the vines and sure, even try a sip or two of witblits if the opportunity arises. I hope you’ll join me along the way. Cheers!

Coming next: The Southyeasters Summer Brew Festival

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