This weekend the Simondium Country Lodge hosted the charming Garden Ideas Market .
With spring around the corner, gorgeous weather predicted for the day and a chance to experience the magnificent views on offer, I was in!
(Franschhoek Wine Tram with the majestic Simonsberge in the background)
“Wine is wont to show the mind of man” – Theogenis
Despite the fact that I spend my weekdays dealing with farmers and exporters in the wine industry, I know very little about the actual product itself, much to my friends’ dismay. When presented with a wine list, the phrase “Ask Gillian, she works in wine…” has never once resulted in my smug identification of some memorable wine, based purely on my in-depth knowledge of the humble grape.
“Where there is no wine, there is no love” – Euripides
I do, however, enjoy the fruit of the vine as much as the next ignorant boozer. So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a local video expounding varietal virtues in terms I could understand, using a familiar frame of reference – people!
“A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from wine.” – Ernest Hemingway
If you’re looking for wine-geek sound bites with which to impress your friends, then don’t waste your time. This is a heartfelt description of each of the more popular varietals produced and consumed in South Africa; from the behaviour of the vine, right through to the personality traits of the resultant wine.
“… he had me at Sauvignon Blanc.” – Me
“When strangers gather happily together at a table, it’s because they’re getting something more than a standard meal or drink out of it.” So says Adee Braun in her article Alone Together: the return of communal restaurant tables.
There is definitely nothing ‘standard’ about the food or drink at Julia Hatting’s Reverie social table in Observatory, where strangers gather happily at one long table to enjoy a delicious meal, great local wines and friendly conversation.
There are few things in life more satisfying than a snooze in dappled sunlight after a good lunch. Fewer, even, are the restaurants that cater to this impulse. The Table is just such an establishment, encouraging patrons to languish on the lawns, sipping sleepily on wines alongside the vines that gave them provenance, while slowly digesting a hearty meal… comfort food in every sense.
The Table is located on the beautiful De Meye boutique wine estate near Stellenbosch, where, for five generations, the Myburgh family has been proudly ‘keeping things real and personal’. This ethos has been carried over to the restaurant, where only a handful of tables are spread out under the trees in the vast, park-like garden, each receiving the hosts’ personal attention.
Tulbagh, famous for the ‘wtf?’ earthquake of 1969, was the natural choice for yet another earth shattering event in the form of my ‘wtf-th?’ birthday. It was also the weekend of the Tulbagh Arts Festival, so I gathered the clan and we headed out to the country.
Terry, an old varsity buddy, owns the beautiful Wild Olive farm and guest cottages just outside town. We’d booked the Guinea Fowl (of which we saw many) which slept six comfortably. The cottage was beautifully appointed, the cosy fire place put to good use on the chilly spring nights and the sweeping views down the valley, breathtaking.