6 must-do Winelands summer outings

Posted by Teagan Cunniffe on 16 November 2018

December is tourist season in the Cape, so we’ve hand-picked six not-to-be-missed experiences for you to add to your holiday calendar. The sun is shining, the vines are green and the Winelands are calling your name.

1: Slow summer lunch at the kraal

Image credit: Teagan Cunniffe

‘Does anyone want these tomatoes? Said Harry from Harry’s Big Wine Adventures. ‘Because that’s all that’s going to be left.’ He poured sauce over his beautifully-braised Cape Wagyu beef shin and sighed that happy, full-bellied sigh of content. We were nearing the end of our delicious Sunday lunch menu at Joostenberg Wine Estate. Wine and conversation had flown as the day slipped languidly by, unhurried and unpressured.

The Kraal has only recently opened and, as the name suggests, is a conversion of the historic animal shelters built on the farm (incidentally, the first buildings were erected here in the 1700’s). Five generations have lived on the estate since, passing down memories and recipes and stories that have been pivotal in the making of this space.

The set, three-course, menu changes every Sunday and is prepared by the talented chef Lanri Marais. She’s been an integral part of the Joostenberg Bistro team for the past four years and studied at Hurst campus. Together with mentors Garth Bedford (head chef at Joostenberg Bistro/Klein Joostenberg Events) and Christophe Dehosse (chef, owner Joostenberg Bistro/Klein Joostenberg Events/The Vine Bistro), it is a nostalgic take on childhood memories and French-cuisine using seasonal ingredients produced locally or on the estate itself. All this set in an airy, open, white-washed courtyard surrounded by old trees and olive groves, with atmospheric wooden tables set between. The wine-tasting is not to be missed. Anette, wife to wine-maker Tyrrel, will expertly lead you through five samples and answer your (read: my) most ignorant questions.

But, back to the table where our mains have been polished off and Service Manager, Veronica, is balancing dessert dishes on each arm. Date balls, strawberry sorbet and cinnamon marshmallows? Don’t mind if I do.

Price: R360 per person for a set three-course menu. Summer menu available until April 2019. R60 for wine tasting.
Details: Advanced booking is essential. Secure your table via email at [email protected] or phone/sms (079 641 1320). The Kraal is based at Joostenberg Wine Estate.
Dates: November – April 2019

2: Street-Party with Stellenbosch Wine Routes

For a few hours over the upcoming months this tarmac stretch will be closed off and people will replace cars, wine vendors will replace traffic lights and chatter around food stalls will replace frustrated hooting. Who doesn’t like a good street party? Stellenbosch Wine Routes have taken that concept to heart and made it accessible to all. Each month (sometimes twice a month) established and boutique wine cellars and restaurants will open stalls to passerby’s, all set to a backdrop of live music and lights and historic Stellenbosch buildings.

Price: R100 per person. This gets you a glass and 12 (I repeat: tweleve) wine takings tokens. I challenge you to use them all. Doors (aka streets) open at 18h00 and close at 20h00.
Details: Dates can be found at wineroute.co.za
Dates: Once a month on Wine Wednesday, 28 November -27 March 2019

3: Be enchanted at Spier’s Light Art Festival

Some of my favorite memories involve lights, whether gazing up from underneath swaying, illuminated jellyfish at AfrikaBurn or sitting and watching the fading glow of sunset at Bakoven beach. That’s why I couldn’t be more excited for Spier’s new light festival. Spier has one of the largest contemporary art collections in South Africa and is known for their support of local artists. They host the Spier Arts Academy, where students learn mosaic and ceramic art, and have named one of their wine ranges, Creative Block, after a lovely initiative where artworks can be mixed and matched according to one’s preference – just like the building blocks in the winemaking process.

And now they’ve created something new. For this event, they’ve teamed up with esteemed Jay Pather. Jay has curated an array of installations that will captivate and intrigue; a key work of which is the artwork ‘Written in the Stars’ by Berco Wilsenach. Here, using panels lit from within, thousands of stars are created and viewers get a glimpse of what it must feel like to be floating in space, enhanced by the stars in the night’s sky above. The opening ceremony incorporates sound and light sculptures, ballet and dancers in an illuminated bamboo forest and giant puppets. It’s set to be an imaginative wonderland for all ages.
Price: Entrance is free from the 10th December onwards.
Details: The opening ceremony is on the 8th and 9th December 2018. Pre-book your tickets with various dinner options (e.g. R580 per couple with picnic basket, bottle of Spier wine and entry tickets) at www.spier.co.za
Dates: 8th December – 30th January 2019

4: Delectable fizz and fudge

Fudge, glorious fudge… Oliver Twist may not have sung those words, but you will be after experiencing Stellenbosch Hills glorious Fizz and Fudge Summer Pairing. Taste two of Polkedraai’s bubblies, the Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé 2018 and Sauvignon Blanc Brut 2018, expertly complemented by custom-made boutique, handcrafted Basilei fudge. You need to be in the know to take advantage of this summer outing: pairings are only done on a pre-booked basis.
Price: R40 for two Polkedraai bubblies paired with two Basilei fudges
Details: Pairing is done at the Stellenbosch Hills Tasting Room. Reservations can be made by calling 021 881 3828/9 or sending email to [email protected]
Dates: November through to February 2019

5: Wine and macarons, per favore

I certainly didn’t know that macarons were made in Venetian monasteries as early as the 8th century AD, or that two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum, baked and sold macarons to pay for their housing during the French Revolution. So much history baked into two circular meringue disks! Idiom links their proud Italian heritage with macarons and wine in this unique summer pairing. Owned by the Bottega family, the beautiful estate overlooks False Bay where the Bottegas have planted Italian grape varietals and import an extensive collection of wines from Italy. So what can one expect from a macaron and wine paring? Think Idiom’s Imperium White Gold (late harvet viognier) served with lemon macaron (caramel cream, honey jelly, lemon curd and candied lemon) brushed with gold dust and served on a bed of crushed almonds. Or imported Prosecco, Romeo and Juliet, paired with a chamomile macaron(chamomile jelly, peach buttercream, white chocolate and bee pollen dust) and garnished with white estate flowers. This promises to be an elegant taste experience in an equally elegant setting. Pre-booking is essential.
Price: R150 per person.
Details: Book via [email protected] or call 021 858 1088.
Dates: November through to February 2019, Fridays till Sundays

6: Open air cinema

And finally, to end off a day of overindulgence (of sun, wine or food), head to the Gallileo Open Air Cinema. With an array of good movies on display – I’m eyeing out ‘Into the Wild’- this promises to be an evening well-spent whether with family, friends, or those more romantically inclined. Balmy summer nights, sitting on a blanket and watching a movie with snacks at hand… Really, how could one not?

Price: R100 per person.
Details: Scheduling information at thegalileo.co.za. Book via thegalileo.co.za/buy-tickets
Dates: Movies run every Saturday from October through to April 2019