When you think “South Africa” you think “amazing wine industry”. And if you don’t, then you’ve never truly experienced South Africa’s wine farms. There are over 560 wine farms in the Cape alone, practically around every corner.
And it’s not always about the wine. Many wine farms are a great place for family gatherings, lunch and relaxed fun out in a quiet setting with (almost always) a view to marvel at. But yes, the wine is also pretty amazing. But let’s take a moment to understand what exactly goes into our wine tasting and lazy lunch experiences.
No wine farm is a wine farm without a vineyard. Obviously.
But it’s a tough business maintaining grapevines. Everything has an effect on the quality of the wine that will, later on, be produced. Climate, temperature and soil are some environmental factors that play a role in the quality of the grapes. Now, you can imagine how different areas of South Africa have struggled to find the right variety of environment in order to produce a viable harvest.
But the more important of these is maintaining great quality and hydrated soil. PROXA Water specialists understand the water cycle and can provide water recycling and effluent treatment solutions to wineries, one of the many industries with PROXA. It’s important for wine farmers to do everything necessary to grow and reap the benefits of their vineyards when the environment, variety, viticultural and enological practices all have the ability to affect the harvest’s quality.
There’s a lot that goes into starting a vineyard, yet all we acknowledge are the photo opportunities.
It doesn’t help to have a well-managed vineyard and no winemaker.
Every wine farm has a winemaker who critically understands every process and element of winemaking. From growing the grapes to adding the needed ingredients in the correct quantities, overseeing the entire winemaking procedure and creating perfect and award-winning blends.
You’re going to need someone who is passionate about your wine farm and will be able to travel and market your product. They’ll also be the ones to tell you when a harvest does not make the quality checks – a tough call, but a necessary one if you wish to maintain your reputation.
So, you’ve got the wine thing down but now it comes to catering for the guest experience.
Wine tasting is trending across South Africa and everyone is recommending their favorite places based on view, vibe and vine. The beauty of Western Cape wine farm regions mean you don’t have to travel to far to the next vineyard to compare wines and see what each one has to offer. Whether it’s the centuries-old spiderwebs at Muratie, Vredeen Lust with a Simonsberg Mountain view, Klein Roosboom Winery with its red wine crystallised walls in the tastings caves, or Vredenheim’s wine tasting rooms a mere stroll away from their Big Cat Park – every wine farm has something unique to offer other than their house wine.
But besides a beautiful wine-tasting experience, wine farms with a restaurant or bistro make for perfect Sunday lunch spots. It becomes a place where the whole family can come and enjoy and the kids don’t have to sit around and wait for the parents to finish their tastings so that they can leave. Brenaissance in Stellenbosch is one such place where there is a stream, open grass area and a jungle gym play area for the kids. Families can lounge under the trees and enjoy the best biltong pizza for lunch or sit in the open plan café with a perfect mamma-bear’s view of the kids.
It’s these two facilities and the experiences they promise that attract people to a wine farm.
With all these wine farms out there, it’s a pretty tough task to market yourself above the rest. Especially when you’re all in the same region. But that’s where events come in.
As if wine tasting and restaurants weren’t enough, some wine farms host musicians and other events as ways of getting their name out there. Hillcrest in the Durbanville Wine Valley regularly hold concerts and corporate events in their quarry and there’s nothing like a bit of live music and a glass of wine. There are wine tours, trams, markets and festivals where every farm is proud to represent or be a part of. Creating an even better wine experience.
So that’s basically what goes into a wine farm and next time your wine advisor (during a tasting) is explaining the process to you, you can appreciate and understand it a bit more. Everything they do is to provide a memorable experience for you. And this world would be a sad place without its wine farms that celebrate the nature in and around them.