Myrna Robins

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At its zenith? As Zevenwacht wines sparkle, the farm plans a new attraction and re-invigorates existing venues.


Let’s start with Zevenwacht wines: Not only has the the number of ranges expanded over the decades, but the quality has zoomed up to match. Winemaker Jacques Viljoen is talented, dedicated, yet relaxed, a proven combination as he crafts the easy-drinking 7even wines and the impressive Z collection which includes a highly-rated 2014 Gewurztraminer and the star of the show, the 2014 360 deg sauvignon blanc, a single vineyard winner that attracted gold at two prestigious international contests, the IWC 2015 and the 2016 Concours Mondial du sauvignon.

Then there is the Flagship range, half a dozen quality, enjoyable labels ranging in price from R70 to R89. The chenin is delicious, a great partner for autumn and outdoor fare while the 2014 chardonnay is a four-star classic. The 2015 sauvignon blanc presents fresh green and fruity flavours backed by a pleasing mineral core.

Two delightful wines make up the Tin Mine range – the White and the Red. Both are fine blends that offer exceptionally good value. The white, a firm favourite of mine, is a blend s 45% chardonnay with 31% chenin, 19% viognier, finished with roussanne. It’s lightly wooded, offering discernible minerality alongside fruit and freshness. The Tin Mine red 2013 is shiraz-led with a good dollop of grenache and 15% mourvèdre, a generous, approachable wine that embraces class, length and ageability.

Turning to the hospitality sector, visitors can choose from the comfort of the suites of the Country Inn, or settle for one of the Vineyard cottages. I enjoy the former, where you park your car within a metre of your front door, settle into a spacious air-conditioned room, then open the doors to the terrace. If it’s a clear day the views stretch from False bay to Table bay, with the panorama of the so-called northern suburbs far below.

For groups of visitors, the Chalet is a magnificent choice, a self-catering four-suite house high up on the Bottelary hillside, with panoramic views encompassing cityscape, wineland and mountain backdrop.

The best vista of all is kept for the Spa, a hilltop venue that will be re-opening in August under new operators and renamed Bakwena. There is a chance that these premises may, once again, be available for private function hire.

The charming, compact farmstead, with its 1800 gable, gazes over water ringed by trees, some of which are spectacular in autumn shades right now. This houses the restaurant, open every day for a la carte meals and a buffet breakfast. The farm is perhaps even more famous for its picnics, where diners have a choice of baskets filled with meaty or vegetarian picnic fare, or braai fare and a children’s basket.

An old farm building is being renovated and fitted out as a demo kitchen. Come November this rustic venue will open its doors to visitors for cooking demos in fine Gallic style. Master chef Sidney Bond and his wife Alison, a renowned pastry chef will present hands-on French cooking classes for a few months of the year, between their hectic schedule of hosting Britons, Americans and others to French and African cookery classes at their lovely home in the Loire valley. See And watch for further announcements!

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It was the first pinotage rosé in South Africa and this year marks its 40th birthday. Delheim deserves accolades for many achievements, and is also regularly quick off the mark when it comes to good marketing, never missing an opportunity to remind its fans that this mountainside Stellenbosch farm is “worth the journey.”

The 2016 just-released pink sports a new cleaner label plus its 1976-2016 anniversary sticker. Low alcohol levels of 12,5% make this an inviting autumn tipple with a dash of muscat adding floral sweetness to the berry flavours. There’s enough acidity to present crispness and, like its predecessors makes an undemanding mate for a wide range of fare from picnic lunches to mild Cape Malay curries. It sells for around R60.

Looking ahead to June and July, Delheim has announced the programme for its annual Forage for Fungi events, while adding a cautionary note that the current drought may well reduce the number of mushrooms available to visitors. The good news is that their pine forest was the only one that was saved during the disastrous fire of January, so that the source of blusher, porcini, boletus and pine ring mushrooms lives on.

Nora Sperling-Thiel and field expert Gary Goldman will lead the excursions, while offering important guidelines and pointers as to which funghi are safe. After their forest hunt, gatherers will enjoy a mushroom-inspired lunch in the farm restaurant, along with a bottle of wine to take home. The day starts in the vat cellar at 10am for a talk on mushroom identification.

Tickets cost R650 a head and advance booking is essential, and no group bookings are taken. Book through Computicket.

The dates are June 16 and 17 and July 1 and 2. For more info, email or contact 021 888 4607.

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Easter weekend and April wine and food events are competing for attention as autumn adds colour to vineyards and brings mellow days to the winelands.



This popular monthly event takes place on Easter Sunday, March 27, from 10am to 3pm. As usual artisanal foods, arts and crafts, homeware and the farms wines will be on sale. Breads, cheese, mushrooms, charcuteries, sauces olive oils and craft beers from Darling Brew add up to a tempting mix.Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but booking is essential. Although pets are welcome – all dogs must be on a leash at all times. For further informationcontact:        Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or



DINING:                               Three course set lunch

                                                A la carte children’s menu

COST:                                    R380 per person.

Booking essential.

VENUE:                                Webersburg Wine Estate

ENTERTAIMENT:               Live band performance

                                                Jumping Castle, Easter Bunny, Easter Egg Hunt, Duck feeding

A second option of a gourmet picnic basket for two at R450 plus a bottle of estate wines is also available, ;plus options of children's and vegetarian menus.

CONTACT:                           (021) 881 3636;

A  Gallic treat awaits

The 2006 vintage of Dom rignon will be launched in South Africa in fine style: On April 6 in Johannesburg and April 8 in Cape Town, Wine Cellar will host exclusive celebrations at The Westcliff and at Ellerman House where representatives of this fine champagne will present the new vintage, considered  the best since 1966. Limited to 24 guests each, walk-around tastings will enable them to sample the '06 alongside the previous two vintages, along with a vintage rose and the re-relased P2, Dom Pérignon 1998 Second Plenitude. Perfectly paired canapes will accompany.

Tickets cost R2 500. Book online at




The hugely popular annual Biltong and Pinotage fest takes place on Saturday and Sunday April 16-17 at L’Avenir estate outside Stellenbosch, from 11am. As well as indulging in a favourite occupation, the Anna Foundation will be there to entertain young visitors and raise funds for their worthwhile charity. While various biltongs will be on hand – such as smoky sweet chilli, spicy BBQ, sweet red pepper and more to be paired with some top Cape pinotages, guests can choose alternative wines, such pinotage rosés, bubblies, blends and even a white pinotage. Follow with lunch  under the trees or on the cellar lawns. No less than 18 wineries are taking part, being Altydgedacht, Anura Vineyards, Badsberg Wine Cellar, Beyerskloof Wines, Boland Cellar, Chamonix, Diemersdal Wine Estate, Diemersfontein Wines, Flagstone Winery, Kaapzicht Estate, Lanzerac Wine Estate, L’Avenir Wines, Mellasat Vineyards, Perdeberg Wines, Remhoogte Wine Estate, Rhebokskloof, Rijk’s Private Cellar, Tulbagh Winery.

Tickets @ R150 pp includes a wine glass and a pairing card for the Pinotage and Biltong tastings. Bookings at and selected Joubert and Monty outlets from 1 March 2016. Visit J&M’s Facebook page to find the outlet closest to you.



Sunday lunch in the beautiful Bottelary Hills

The first of three Pop Up lunches in the Bottelary Hills region takes place at Hartenberg on Sunday April 17 when chef Bertus Basson will cook over an open fire to create a contemporary gourmet meal. b2ap3_thumbnail_BHills-3.jpgCharred food is in vogue, and Basson is a master of the grill and will celebrate lamb in different guises. The three-course meal, with wine costs R350 a head, lincluding winetasting beforehand . Booking is essential. Book through or call 021 886 8275.


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I have received so many releases on Valentines Day/night/weekend events that they would fill blogs of three times the length of mine - so I am not including these tastings/lunches/dinners/overnight offers at all. But I am starting the February diary with a one-day fest that falls over the romantic mid-month weekend. Revving up Rosé its dubbed, its a first of its kind, and I think the timing is great. Along with being a wine geared to romance, late summer through autumn is the season when rosés come into their own - refreshing, inviting, easy-drinking wines that pair so happily with salads, salmon, berries, watermelon  - in fact most rosy-hued foods while also making a  companionable beverage to picnic fare and most al fresco menus. On Saturday February 13 the fun begins at at 8,30am at Rickety Bridge estate outside Franschhoek with  a run and mountain bike ride, with breakfast on sale to follow. Tasting starts at 10am, and cellars taking part include Anthonij Rupert, Babylonstoren, Delaire, Foothills, Haute Cabrière, Krone, Le Lude, Lynx, Paul René, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, The Wolftrap and Vrede en Lust … The lunch menu at  Paulina's restaurant will, of course, be rosé-friendly, or picnics can be pre-booked. A cocktail bar, live music and tapas will operate from 4 - 6pm. Rosé wines, carefully made from a variety of cultivars, are on the up, and this is a good chance to sample well-made examples. Tickets cost R120 which includes glass and tastings. Available through or at the door.





Savour the Stellenbosch lifestyle during the 2016 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay at Coetzenburg Sports Grounds. From 5 to 7 February  festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample some of the best wines in the country, delight in gourmet food offerings from top restaurants, enjoy great live music and take part in fun outdoor activities, in what must be the most picturesque surroundings in South Africa.

The three-day lifestyle festival will showcase hundreds of wines from Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ members, ranging from award-winning producers to small boutique wineries.  The Gourmet Lane and Pick n Pay Fresh will offer delicious snacks, while guests can explore the magic of food and wine pairings presented by select winemakers in the Tasting Room.

Daily tickets cost R180 for adults, and include a tasting glass. Tickets are available from  Children under 18 pay R60.  Tickets are limited, so book early.  Visit the festival website for a full event schedule. Follow the Stellenbosch Wine Festival on Twitter @StellWineFest and sign up for regular updates on Facebook at  


Two local artists - Nuka and Morne  Meyer will alternate performing at this Franschhoek mountainside cellar from 5 - 7pm every Thursday until April. the view and the sunset are added free attractions. Seating is on the terrace and lawns, and the Terrace menu will be offered. There is no cover charge. For reservations and info, email or call 021 876 3688.


Grande Provence Harvest Day

On Saturday, 20 February this Franschhoek estate will host its annual harvest day fest, starting at 9am with coffee and muffins, followed by grape picking, stoming, wine tasting and a cellar tour. Chef Darren Badenhorst will present his harvest lunch feast to a background of live music. Tickets are R650 for adults and R350 for children under 12. Booking is essential,  contact Barbara at Tel: 021 876 8600 or e-mail



Feast of the Grape

27 & 28 February 2016b2ap3_thumbnail_Dbnville-Fes.PNG

Kick off your shoes for some squishing and splatting at this year’s Durbanville Wine Valley’s Feast of the Grape, a weekend of harvest fun hosted by 12 wine farms in the Valley. Celebrating the bounty of harvest season, the festival takes place on 27 and 28 February 2015, which takes place at  D’Aria Wine Farm with an abundance of seasonal wines and entertainment to enjoy.

The 12 farms coming together from the Durbanville Wine Valley to take part in the grape festivities are: Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, D’Aria, De Grendel, Diemersdal, Durbanville Hills, Groot Phesantekraal, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Meerendal, Nitida and Signal Gun. 

“This year’s festival  brings all our member farms together on one wine farm, rather than each hosting its own separate harvest celebration”, says Angela Fourie, Marketing Manager of the Durbanville Wine Valley Association. 

 Tickets costs R120 and include entrance to the festival, a wine glass and tasting coupons. Tickets will be available full festival program is available on


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With January reaching the halfway mark this week, the holidays are behind most of us, but the summer season in the winelands is just reaching its peak.


Most farms celebrate the end of harvesting, Delheim does its differently: for years they have marked the Start of Harvest with an open weekend of roll out the barrels, stomp the new grapes, al fresco dining and a load of fun. January 23 and 24 are the dates when a maximum of 120 adults will be served a glass of must and a mosbolletjies on arrival, then settle to enjoy the music, the picnic style buffet or take part in the highly competitive stomping contest.The fun starts at noon and tickets cost R300 which includes all food and activities. Children aged 2 and under go in free, others pay R175. For more info and to book contact Wilm on 021 888 4607 or send an email to


b2ap3_thumbnail_Stellenbosch-Street-Soirees-HR-9.jpgStellenbosch Street Soirees

If you are still on holiday, or wish you were, head to Drostdy street tomorrow (or on Wednesday, Jan 27) for this month's vibrant street party, when Stellenbosch diverts traffic so that guests can sip, savour and share the hospitality and delicious wines of the region. To accompany them, gourmet snacks from local eateries, music by local talent, and the communal spirit is alive and well as visitors and local meet, chat, and enjoy . Time: from 6 - 8pm. Cost: R70 for a tasting glass - and as many tastes as you wish, with street food on sale.

February's soiree dates: 10th and 24th

For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, or visit




In keeping with healthy eating (a favourite new year resolution) at a glorious destination where eggs, poultry and meat are ethically farmed and the giant herb and veggie garden presents a model of organic cultivation, spend Saturday January 30 on a roving, four-venue dinner at Boschendal estate : Vegetarian focussed, with meat on the side, chef Christiaan Campbell will transform the sustainably produced ingredients into three delectable courses. Vegetables, herbs and salads will star, diners will wander to their next course led by food garden manager Megan McCarthy, who will show diners ingredients that will appear on their plates a little later. Stilettos are not recommended and jerseys may be required. A welcome drink, beverage with the main course and coffee are included in the R495 a head price. To book, email or call 27(0) 21 870-4274.


Saturday February 6 is the date to diarise for Franschhoek Summer Wines at Leopard’ Leap Family vineyards. Bubbly, white and rosé wines will be there for sampling, the rotisserie kitchen will cater lavishly well and local performers will add live music. Dress in cool white is recommended. Tickets cost R150 and can be booked through Tastings start at noon. For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861.   


The thought of relaxing on the lawns at Neethlingshof after a long hot  Wednesday of work, sounds tempting enough. Add a glass of one of cellarmaster De Wet Viljoen's enjoyable wines, snack on items from a cheese or charcuterie platter, and take in the smooth sounds of acoustic guitar played by Francois Haasbroek, and you have a midweek break perfect   for recharging our batteries.  Wednesday Wine breaks take place from 5 - 8pm until the end of March. Platters cost from R85 to R175.


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