UA-121975756-1 South Africa trip 2020
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South Africa trip 2020

Updated: 3 days ago

5 Reasons to visit South Africa

1. Stunning scenery

2. Fabulous food

3. Wonderful wine

4. Perfect places to stay

5. Warm welcome wherever you go

We have had to cut our trip short. As a result of the Corona Virus arriving in South Africa.

The country is so beautiful - People welcoming and kind - We didn't want to leave!

Luckily all the wine has been bought.

Unfortunatley it is all sitting on pallets at the port in Cape Town. It will be worth waiting for - I promise.

Meanwhile we are back in Hampshire leaving 30° returning to minus 2° as we arrived at Heathrow!

We are still able to sell wine online. As long as stocks last!

Please keep reading our travel blog. All of a sudden I have plenty of time to update it.


Quick guide to blog


Stony Brook- Franschhoek

Work now starts in earnest!

Our first visit is to Stony Brook Vineyard.

Situated on the outskirts of Franschhoek.

The winemaking philosophy here draws inspiration from some of the most revered wine regions across Europe. Consequently the McNaught family way of winemaking is traditional.

Their outlook on planting and assemblage is an exploratory one.

Allowing a unique way to express the soils, on this remarkable site in Franschhoek.

We arrive on a very hot day, Joy McNaught welcomes us, she presents the wines for tasting talking us through this year’s vintages, explaining the problems they have had to deal with over the past months.

Everywhere in the world, the weather changes are causing previously unforeseen challenges.

As a result there are subtle changes in the wines and in our opinion all for the better.

This year we are adding a further wine to our collection Stony Brook’s popular S.M.V. This will be on our shelves as soon as possible.

Klienhoekloof Winery - Ashton

We have had a recommendation to visit Klienhoekkloof winery in the hills behind Ashton and after sampling a bottle of their Shiraz at dinner we decided to visit.

We have had a recommendation to visit Klienhoekkloof winery in the hills behind Ashton and after sampling a bottle of their Shiraz at dinner we decided to visit.

You would not happen upon this vineyard - it is 5km up a single track gravel road - but definitely worth the trek!

Theunis and Ronel bought the farm 15 years ago and moved from Pretoria to run it. On arrival they were selling the grapes to other producers.

Theunis set about learning the art of winemaking at Graham Beck Training Establishment in Robertson. At this stage they were then able to commence making their own wines.

Danielle, their daughter loves Sauvignon Blanc - there wasn't any on the vineyard so a blok was planted!

Local experts were surprised the vines thrived and the wine made from these grapes is very good.

We did what we do best and tasted the range made here, buying 6 to take back with us to sample on our travels.

To top things off, we were given a delicious meat platter for lunch.

What is different about that?

The meat has been taken from one organically reared pig and Theunis had cured all the meats himself.

Different flavours are on offer- including a salami, prosciutto one that has been cured with fennel (my favourite) and all served with hot homemade bread.

This place off the beaten track is a real gem.

Arendsig Handcrafted Wines - Robertson

Arendsig wines have been on carte-du-vin's wine list for many years.

Today we have a meeting to sample new vintages and re-order stock.

Lourens the owner and winemaker is there to say hello. Today he can’t stay and talk as the harvest is in full swing. As a consequense he has to rush off.

Not a problem Marius will take us through the wines.

These wines are one of our best sellers. Many South African restaurants have Arendsig on their lists.

Including British born chef Luke Dale Roberts number one restaurant The Test Kitchen.

A lovely afternoon spent at tasting table and order placed.

Silverthorn Winery - Robertson

Our visit to South Africa each year is to re-stock, replenish the wine cellar and search out new wines to add to the list.

We have an appointment to meet Karen and John Loubser at Silverthorn Winery.

Carte-du-vin stocks Green Man already- but today for the first time we are able to visit the vineyard!

The reason for the delay is they have been renovating the tasting room and building a state of art cellar for production of their lovely wines.

We learn about the passion and care taken in all areas of production. The terroir is very special here which gives distinctive character to the wines.

The Loubsers personally oversee the whole process from vine to bottle.

The label designs arise from their passion for history . The results are works of art with spiritual meanings behind each label

This is a quality product made in the MCC (‘Method Cap Classic) style.

How the wine is made

It is the exactly same process you will find in the French Champagne houses. No short cuts are taken her

Secondary Fermentation is slow - the wine bottles are placed in the cool cellar where they produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is the most important part; the carbon dioxide cannot escape from the bottle and this creates the sparkles!

The lengthy process required to make these wines confirms this vineyard produces a product which compares favourably to any quality Champagne.


Awards badges are plenty and you will find some bottles laden. This makes them meaningless - however, there is one the industry does recognise as being genuine and accurate.

The Tim Aitkin award.

He arrives in South Africa regularly with a panel and tastes each wine giving a rating out of 100. Silverthorn wines all have scored over 92 points and The Jewel Box awarded 96.

The Test Kitchen - a top restaurant in Cape Town have Silverthorn Wines on their list!

Succulent Restaurant at Mo and Rose - Robertson

Moving from Stellenbosch to Robertson is a scenic trip. We travel up and over the Franschhoek Pass along the R60  to Soekershof and arrive at Mo and Rose. A boutique hotel who’s gardens are unique

Attached to the Hotel is Succulent Restaurant . Executive Chef Wiener Snook has cooked and trained locally and internationally for 19 years, his food is in our opinion some of the best in the Cape. The wine list is extensive and showcases many wines from Robertson.

The restaurant is not just for hotel residents as open to everyone. We advise to pre-book as it is always busy.

Keep an eye out in the gardens as you never know who is watching you!

Clos Malverne - Stellenbosch

Clos Malverne wines have been on our list for many years. We are low on stock at the moment.

Fear not we are here to re-stock.

Firstly we have a tasting with Suzanne and then we tour the cellar with Mpasa.

To be fair this was a surprise as the wine making process is very hands on with little intervention from machinery.

Grapes are pressed by hand with an implement which is similar to a floor brush! No bristles just a hard surface to crush the grapes.

Now the juice is squeezed and transferred to tanks.

The waste product left is moved to the manual basket press where they gently extract the last drops of juice.

Nothing is wasted -the lees are used for fertiliser for the vineyards and garden.

Waste not want not.

The wines are lovely from here and our best seller is their Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

Whilst on the tour of the cellar we meet Seymour, the owner.

At the height of the business over a million bottles were produced, now production is down to 350k. They have diversified. The restaurant here is number 1 on Trip Advisor and we are staying in one of their cottages.

The restaurant specialises in a wine pairing menu - they have a brilliant chef here who produces great food which showcase the wines to perfection.

Book a table, ask for one on the stoop (balcony to us Brits) you are nearly sitting in the vineyard and views over the mountains are to die for.

Bellevue Wine Estate

Monday morning and let’s start work.

We are meeting today Josh who is to lead us through our tasting at Bellevue Winery.

We have stocked Bellevue wines for 3 years.

Last year saw the Estate sold - we were unsure as to how it would be run in the future.

Dirk and Theresa Morkel, the previous owners welcomed us. Good news as firstly both are still very involved with the everyday running of the vineyard and secondly it was lovely to see them.

Josh talked us through each wine. We had planned in advance which wines we would take from here.

But nothing is written in stone - the reason for our travels around vineyards each year is to taste new vintages.

Each year gives the winemaker new challenges and this year Bellevue hasn’t made their lightly oaked Chardonnay as the grapes were just not good enough.

So it is back to the drawing board for us. What shall we stock instead?

We need to re-plan what we buy to export!

Work completed we were treated to a delicious platter of cured meats and cheese.

Thank you Bellevue!

Havercrofts Restaurant Stamford WC

WOW this is a different dining experience. A husband and wife are running this restaurant Innes and Brydon. Innes is front of house and Brydon the chef. You dine in at rustic tables under vines. A handwritten blackboard is your menu and wine list. Lunchtime starts by the menu being narrated and described by Innes, she is a great character who takes no prisoners.

The food arrives I ordered devilled kidneys - a special on the menu since the restaurant's opening - delicious.

Most importantly, nothing is too much trouble, for example we had a coconut prawn curry for main. This wasn’t very spicy - we like it hot and as a consequence they brought us a wee bowl of chopped chillis, perfect.

This is such a fun venue. Great home cooked quality food from local producers. The wines are lovely too. In short a splendid way to spend lunch.

A big ‘Thank You’ to Innes and Brydon

#PeterFalke Winery

First stop is to #PeterFalke winery in Stellenbosch.

Wim and Wilmer, marketing manager and front of house welcome us. Peter Falke sport socks are re-known worldwide. The Falke family wanted a wine farm and in the 90's they purchased the estate on Arrandale Road in Stellenbosch

Daniele Falke renovated the estate and buildings. She was born in Provence France and has styled the tasting areas from childhood memories of fields of lavender, daisies, mimosa and olive trees.

The sun is shining. So we decide to commence our tasting on the lawns. At present we stock 3 wines from here. Today we sample the whole range, with a view to stock more.

Watch this space!

Click here to see full range we stock

Eventually got to Cape Town after a 9 hour delay at Joburg Airport. Still no problem arrived at our favourite stop over Derwent House Boutique Hotel always a warm welcome here. Firstly we drop off our bags then out to The Black Sheep restaurant they have saved a table for us! This restaurant never disappoints beautifully cooked food and thank you Richard for talking us through the wine menu.

We are leaving UK on 27th February for our annual buying trip to South Africa. Firstly we are visiting #PeterFalke wine estate in Stellenbosch. I will be updating the blog regularly. Once you have read it please send us your comments.

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