15
Jul
2014
0

Robertson: Wine Valley

Not many people spend a day in the wine valley of Robertson. Most people visiting Cape Town spend a while touring Paarl and Stellenbosch to tick wine tasting on the list of must do things in Cape Town. Well, if not more, Robertson deserves at least a night’s halt to experience wine culture.

Robertson is a quaint little town out of dreamland. The roads are lined with jacaranda trees which blossom in summers and paint the town in a bright shade of purple. The canna lilies bloom dotting the town with specks of orange, yellow and red. One would seldom see a more picturesque town. The purple hues have moved ‘crazily running through a lavender field’ one notch higher on my bucketlist!

Picturesque Robertson

Picturesque Robertson

So… Where is Robertson?

Robertson is in the Western cape, about 160 km away from Cape Town. It is one of the key towns on Route 62, the renowned wine valley route in South Africa which provides the world with some fantastic wine that wine connoisseurs greatly appreciate.

We traversed the Western cape as a road trip. Hence, getting to Robertson was a zip zap zoom drive for us and we recommend hiring a car to to explore the town and vineyards around it. Reaching any of the vineyards using public transport would be impossible!

Where to stay?

Robertson is a small town and the big fancy hotels have still not put it on their map. The locals of the town have opened their doors to tourists and there is a host of bed and breakfast options to choose from. Most of these are rated by the tourism authority of South Africa by way of a star rating. Obviously, higher the star rating, greater is the price that you pay.

Robertson: Balinderry Guest House (pic courtesy: Balinderry)

Honeymoon cannot be on a budget! Our choice was the Ballinderry Guesthouse, a 4 star rated B&B run by Luc and his lovely wife Hilde. And oh… they have a cute dog called Maxim! Located in a quiet street, Ballinderry Guesthouse has well appointed rooms which are tastefully furnished. There is a also a small swimming pool and a garden to let you enjoy the sun while your friends in the Northern hemisphere may be drinking brandy to keep themselves warm! If you are staying at Ballinderry, we highly recommend the champagne breakfast and the delicious rocket and tomato omelette that Hilde whips up.

 

Cheers … Wine tasting in Robertson

There are approximately a dozen wineries in Robertson – take your pick. Here is a link of Robertson Wine Valley highlighting some key traits of the vineyards to help you make a choice.

Robertson: Vineyards (pic courtesy: Robertson Wine Valley)

Robertson: Vineyards (pic courtesy: Robertson Wine Valley)

We went by our host’s recommendation to enjoy a diner and watch the sunset at Fraai Uitzicht. What a gorgeous setting! Dinner on the patio with dim lights, watching the sun go down. This has been the most beautiful sunset dinner that we have had. Maybe it was the honeymoon romance or the the fact that it was the first vineyard that I had ever seen – that sunset is a sight that I will remember until I turn 80! If you want to soak in the views longer, Fraai Uitzicht has accommodation on the vineyard itself.

Robertson: Sunset from Fraai Uitzicht

Robertson: Sunset from Fraai Uitzicht

Another vineyard that I remember fondly is Viljoensdrift vineyard. Situated on the banks of the Breede river, the vineyard has its own boat. Taste some wine, pick up a bottle, get a picnic lunch packed and set sail. The perfect way to spend a warm sunny afternoon.

Robertson: Boat at Viljoensdrift

Robertson: Boat at Viljoensdrift

Wine tasting in quite a few of the vineyards is free of cost. We went wine tasting in 3 vineyards and typically ended up trying 3-4 wines at each stop. It is here that our love affair with sauvignon blanc began… and it continues till date! The staff in most vineyards is happy to show you around and detail the wine making process to help you make an informed choice. We picked up a few bottles as well – very cheap, especially when compared to wine prices in India. I remember that we spent less than USD 2 for a bottle of really good white wine! And seriously, the wine was good… And this is a sober opinion!

Robertson: Wine tasting

Robertson: Wine tasting

Two cents from my end… Some tips…

Robertson was my first tryst with wine tasting… and there have been numerous post that. Here are some tips that would help you raise the glass and say cheers:

  • Get your own wheels: We recommend hiring a car from Cape Town. Public transport is not too efficient between cities. Also, if you don’t have a car, hopping from one vineyard to the other will be a challenge.
  • Get a GPS: There are some narrow roads and then there are some dirt roads. Finding your back from the vineyard after dinner can be difficult if you do not have a GPS.
  • Shop for wine: I can’t say it enough… buy a few bottles at the vineyard. Absolute value for money.
  • Do not drink and drive: It is easy to lose track of how much alcohol you have consumed when you are on a wine tasting spree. The South African travel rules allow you have a maximum of two glasses if you are driving (At least that’s what we were told in the vineyard).
  • Take the tour in the vineyard: Take the tour on the vineyard and understand the wine making process. Learn which wine pairs best with which food. What should your cheese platter consist of? The staff at the vineyard is always happy to help you know more…so that you enjoy your wine more!

As always…send me an e-mail if you need any further details. Glad to help!

Let the travellers’ tribe grow!

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