They win global awards year in and year out, yet our own cabinet insists on quaffing whisky from Scotland (and bubbly from France, but that's another story). The quality of top Cape brandies is simply superb, and that goes for the well-known names, along with some little gems from rural cellars across the winelands.
You can be in with a chance to find out more about a couple of these prize-winning spirits early in November, as I have been given two pricy patricians from the House of Van Ryn to give away to you, the reader, in a festive e-mail competition: Look out for this blog next month.
The SA Brandy Foundation has updated the two main Cape brandy routes, one in the Boland area, the other through the Klein Karoo, which together offer visitors 21 destinations, or 'brandy homes' as they are now being dubbed. There are a couple of lone cellars in other areas, such as Oude Molen in Grabouw and Kaapzicht in Cape Town. The Northern Cape now boasts one too, near Upington.
Those looking for a few venues to visit, should spend time trawling the website www.sabrandy.co.z/brandyhomes to compile an itinerary. Directions and opening hours are given,. Some offer tours, others present brandy and food pairings, while others are open only by appointment.
When the Little Karoo route was launched many years ago, press members were treated to a short but hugely enjoyable weekend sampling the hospitality and spirits of a few of the members - and those in the Oudtshoorn and De Rust areas are people and places I still recall - overwhelming hospitality, historic farmsteads and cellars, ostriches and six-course dinners that went on until the early hours. If you enjoy history with your tastings, and are in the De Rust area, don't miss Mons Ruber, housed in an old toll house, with photographs of the 1947 British royal tour on the walls (apparently the royal train stopped there).