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Myrna Robins

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Food

News, recipes, culinary events and cookbook reviews.

Subcategories from this category: Restaurants, Events, Cookbooks, Recipes

Posted by on in Events

ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY – THE DESTINATION THAT LIVES UP TO EVERY EXPECTATION

 

 

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It’s  a beguiling valley, beautiful, spacious, offering compelling reasons as to why visitors should taste its lifestyle, Pretty towns and magnificent farms offer a broad palette, bisected by the iconic Breede river that winds placidly through the countryside. The Langeberge frame the eastern aspect, the Sonderend mountains ripple coastwards and local hills rear up to add diversity to the landscape.

The valley’s delicous wines, fine country fare, famous stud farms and rose-strewn gardens are renowned.  Even more important is the widespread hospitality which is allied to a down-to-earth disposition that is characteristic of most valley dwellers. Locals welcome travellers with warmth, make sure they are happy, and combine quality service and products with value for money. What more could anyone expect?

Now with harvest in full swing across the wine regions of the Western Cape, Robertson farms and cellars make time to slow the pace, to offer visitors cellar and vineyard tours, tastings and more:

The 2017 Hands-on Harvest is scheduled for the second weekend of March: From Friday 10 – Sunday 12  when more than 20 venues are offering an appetising range of activities.

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 Take part in harvesting, from picking and stomping to blending and tasting. Adrenalin junkies can also take to sky-diving and rock climbing, hiking and biking, cruising and boules. Those who favour more leisurely pursuits can focus on venues for  brunch or lunch, take in tastings casual or tutored, sample wines from garagiste through boutique to the vintages from giant cellars with endless rows of steel tanks. Groups can be as intimate as four or up to 30 – choose your preference.

Add a visit to a small distillery for sampling world-class grappa and eaux de vie, and make sure you don’t leave the valley without visiting the first Harvest b2ap3_thumbnail_hoh-1.jpgFamily Market: This takes place on the Breede river banks at Viljoensdrift, on Sunday March 12 from 10am, offering the perfect finale to a rustic weekend.  All ages are catered for, and the range of country goodies will be mouthwatering. Entrance is free and the setting is soul-soothing.

Among items worth hunting down are wholewheat rusks, excellent melktert, apricot jam and seasonal preserves, freshly harvested pecans and boerseep.

It all adds up to a fruity fiesta that should see city-dwellers go home happy and relaxed, carboots filled with fine wine and goodies from many a farm and village kitchen.

It makes sense to plan your weekend in advance: log onto b2ap3_thumbnail_hoh5.jpgwww.handsonharvest.com and work out your itinerary, booking with the relevant farms at least three days ahead. Any other questions will be answered by the staff at the Robertson  Wine Tourism office – contact them on 023 626 3167 or send an email to events@robertsonwinevalley.com.

For accommodation, contact the following tourism offices:

Mcgregor: 023 625 1954 info@tourismmcgregor.co.za

Montagu/Ashton: 023 614 2471.

Robertson: 023 626 4437 info@robertson.org.za

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 See you there and don’t forget the sunblock, hats, and sensible shoes – give the stilettos the weekend off.

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Posted by on in Recipes

It’s not only brinjals that have three names, I discovered recently, witlof can boast of four – as this intriguing head of tight creamy leaves is also known as chicory, witloof and Belgian endive.

Appropriately, we were gathered at Den Anker, that classic Belgian restaurant at b2ap3_thumbnail_Fanie-van-der-Merwe-standing_20170207-153515_1.jpgthe Waterfront, for the launch of this healthy addition to our summer diets. The media turnout was impressive, and Brian Berkman looked pleased. Farmer and producer Fanie van der Merwe of Bronaar, one of the oldest farms in the Koue Bokkeveld, was more than happy to tell us the secrets of this versatile vegetable that has been popular with northern European consumers for some 170 years.

As one of the few South African producesr, and as one who guarantees a continuous supply 12 months of the year, Farmer Fanie imports the little seeds from Holland at great expense, plants them  outside in the spring, and harvests in the autumn when the plant has developed a large tap root, similar to a parsnip. This is cleaned and refrigerated. The next stage is carried out in the dark, to avoid the development of chlorophyll. The roots are planted in soil-free hydroponics and the head of creamy leaves develops over three weeks, after which the chicons ( leaves) are harvested.

The endives are packaged 2 – 3 to a see-through bag and are available at several supermarkets.

We enjoyed a starter of tiny shrimps paired with crisp apple, shredded witlof, tomato, moistened with mayonnaise. The mix was served in a witlof or endive leaf, which makes an ideal container for any number of  summery salad ingredients – corn kernels and diced red pepper dressed with lightly chillied olive oil comes to mind. Add diced bacon if you wish.

Chef Doekie Vlietman followed with a seasonal salad geared to vegetarian palates, but enjoyed by all: He combined little balls of chevin, crumbed and deep-fried until crisp, with small wedges of fresh pear, briefly sautéed in butter. Finely chopped endive, baby lettuce and micro greens added crunch to the mixture, and crushed walnuts made a good topping. The composition was drizzled with a little honey and paired with a fruity Belgian beer.  It’s a light luncheon dish to recommend, although I will substitute fresh local pecan nuts for walnuts, (which are imported and often tired and old by the time we use them). A Belgian classic, endives wrapped in Parma ham and baked in a rich cheese sauce made the main course.

Apart from agreeable crunch, endives are delicately flavoured, with just a trace of bitterness to add interest. (The current endives seem to be less bitter than those I remember eating years ago – perhaps catering to modern tastes?) Their attributes are many and music to health- nuts’ ears: Apart from being  low in carbs, the witlof is high in fibre, and contains folate or B9, some vitamin C, and is also a source of thiamin, potassium, calcium , magnesium, vitamins B6 and C. There’s more – its both an appetite stimulant and a digestive aid.

Little wonder the Belgians call it their “white gold.”

Also easy to understand why Fanie would like all South Africans, whether health-conscious, slimmers, vegans or vegetarians, - and all those who aim to make 2017 the year they change their diets for the better – to look out for these packs of crisp goodness to relish raw, sautéed and baked. Autumn means picnic season in South Africa – and it would be difficult to find a better edible container for your finger fare.

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Posted by on in Events

 

A couple of weather gurus have predicted an early autumn here on the fringe of the Klein Karoo. Whether this will extend to the Boland and Overberg, who knows? But if it does, it makes visiting these wine regions all the more inviting. There's a Gauteng fest in the lineup as well.

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Diarise Saturday Feb 18 for a feast of fun at one of our most iconic estates. Join the Melck family at Muratie for a day that can be as active (mountain biking, stomping grapes) or leisurely as you wish. Taste the Muratie wines in the old cellar, or enjoy a private tasting at 12 noon. Settle for an alfresco lunch from the Farm Kitchen that includes gourmet burgers, salmon sarmies, spring rolls, a cheese platter and more. Kitchen Jammin Blues will provide the musical background. Entry costs R75 a head.

For further information and bookings contact Jean-Mari Reyneke at Muratie on 021 865 2330/2336 or taste@muratie.co.za

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Savour the spirit of the Gin & Tonic Festival

 

 

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Sunday February 26 sees the  Gin & Tonic Festival return to Cape Town showcasing over 15 local and international gin distilleries at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Taste, swirl and celebrate!

Visitors can look forward to festival regulars such as Bloedlemoen, Ginifer, Hope on Hopkins, Inverroche, New Harbour, Wilderer and a host of exciting new players in the local market. Internationally revered brands like The Botanist, Sipsmith and Elephant Gin will also showcase their craft, 

Some of the city’s finest food trucks and gourmet street food chefs will offer gastronomic goodness to festivalgoers. In addition, a summer-inspired designer’s market will feature the brightest in locally made fashion, lifestyle and accessory goods.  Local artists will entertain the crowds at dedicated music stages. Guests
will receive a 16 page gin booklet, a host of promotional vouchers and goodies from our festival partners, and a branded Gin and Tonic Festival glass.

 Join The Gin Revolution:  visit the website: http://ginandtonicfestival.co.za/

Book your tickets: 
http://www.quicket.co.za/events/24893-gin-and-tonic-festival-biscuit-mill-cape-town/#/

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 DINNER WITH THE WINEMAKER AT LANZERAC

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lanzerac-CoconutGrapeFruitPanaCotta___0197-11-2.jpgChef Fraser's irresistible dessert paired with the estate's bubbly.

 

These occasional gourmet evenings offer a tasty marriage between the considerable talents of executive chef Stephen Fraser and cellarmaster Wynand Lategan. The first of the 2017 events takes place on Tuesday, March 28 when diners will gather for a welcome drink and canapes on the picnic terrace before visiting the underground cellar to taste new vintages from the barrel. The dinner menu will include a first course of prawn pannacotta and Parma ham mousse, will go on to noisette of lamb, all partnered by new releases from the wine menu along with current favourites like chardonnay and pinotage. Lanzerac's cap classique brut will make a fine finale to complement dessert. This will be an intimate affair of just 30 guests, costs R550  a head, all inclusive, and bookings must be made with Zelda Furstenburg on winesales@lanzerac.co.za or by calling 021 886 5641.

Further seasonal dinners are planned for July and September.

 

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 START YOUR WEEKEND OFF ON A SPARKLING NOTE AT BROOKLYN BUBBLES

 

The best South African MCCs and French champagnes with food prepared by an award-winning chef is on the menu for Friday March 3 - Saturday March 4 at Brooklyn Mall. Both top Cape bubblies and renowned French houses will present their products while complementary nibbles like oysters, sushi, charcuteries and cheeses will accompany the sparkles, finishing with churros and mini-donuts for finales

 

Tickets to the VIP event on the Friday are R600 per person and include a welcome glass of bubbly, 20 bubbly tasting coupons and three food coupons, one of which is for dessert.

 Tickets for the event on Saturday, March 4, cost R300 per person and include a complimentary tasting glass and 15 tasting coupons. Food will also be available for purchase at stalls at the venue. Additional vouchers can be purchased on both days.

Details: 

  Friday, March 3, 2017, from 18h00 to 22h00 & Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 12h00 to 17h00

 Venue: Brooklyn Mall (In a marquee in Bronkhorst Street).

 Booking: www.webtickets.co.za

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Cluver Family Harvest Day | 1 April 2017

 

 

 

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No danger of April Fool jokes popping up at this autumn harvest festival in the heart of the Elgin valley. Paul Cluves Wines makes the venue for this appetising celebration of wine, cider and apples that starts at 11am. 

Leave the car at home and take the train for a memorable day: it will leave Cape Town station at 9am and pick up more passengers at Somerset West,  and on board treats are included.

At the farm children will be supervised and entertained with a programme of old-fashioned games while adults can sample the ciders and wines on offer. Artisanal foods for sale include apple crumble, cheeses, charcuterie  and gourmet sandwiches.

 

The price structure is as follows:

 

Adults

R250 per person

Children under 18           

R100 per child

 

 

Family package 

R550 (2 adults and 2 children)

Return train ticket (excludes festival ticket)

R500 per person (children under 18 travel for free)

 

 Your festival ticket includes entry, a complimentary tasting glass and a booklet of tasting coupons. The children’s ticket includes entry and a harvest party pack. Food and other beverages available on the day are not included in the ticket price.Pre-booking is essential as tickets are limited. Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za.  For more details on what you can expect visit www.cluver.com.

 

 

 

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Tagged in: Events Food Wine
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Posted by on in Events

 

Harvest has begun in some regions, while grapes are being sampled and assessed in others as cellars get ready for the first influx of the 2017 harvest. Around McGregor the air is not yet filled with the aromas of crushed grapes, but the trail of trucks loaded with peaches that trundle down the main drag seem endless... With the apricot harvest behind us, and the peak of the tomato season just ahead, we have been bottling our 2016 harvest of ripe olives, making pesto, or rather pistou (no nuts) as our basil plants wave in the wind, wafting enticing aromas toward the kitchen. The first batch of ripe fig jam will be bubbling on the stove soon, although keeping birds, large and small, from our crop, is a thankless task.

 

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Durbanville Hills' maiden chenin blanc 2016  arrived just before year end, and its a charmer, Its fresh and lively, fruity and undemanding, yet far from run-of-the-mill. It's the sort of weekday wine that is ideal for those hot January evenings when a well-chilled chenin will precede your salad supper, accompanied by a further glass. The label offers no clue as to the source of the grapes, but cellarmaster Martin Moore told me that he found old chenin vines on various Durbanville farms to make his maiden vintage. So yes, this is Durbanville Hills chenin from Durbanville valley grapes.

 Selling at R55 it should  hold its own with the cellar's several stellar sauvignon blancs, but you may have to hunt for it - its not yet listed on their website or, at time of writing on the Vinoteque site yet. Worth putting on your shopping list.  

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By the first weekend of February, winelovers should be ready to don something cool and white and head to Leopards Leap Family vineyards for a late summer celebration. The 2017 Franschhoek Summer Wines takes place on Saturday, 4th February, offering a selection of summery whites, roses, Cap Classiques and light reds all suitable for warm weather sipping. Pair them with fare from the rotisserie kitchen and relax on the verandah or lawns as you drink in the valley panorama. tickets cost R180 and are obtainable from www.webtickets.co.za/

at R180 per person.  This includes a wine glass and a tasting of all the wines on show between 12pm and 5pm.  

For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861 or email info@franschhoek.org.za.

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DESTINATION MCGREGOR FOR SLOW WINE WEEKENDS

 

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Slow Wine weekends in the picturesque village of McGregor offer two days of diverse wines, fine fare that ranges from gourmet to country, and the unique combination of tranquillity, hospitality and a pace that is as leisurely or lively as visitors choose to make it. Add in attractions like spa treatments, a busy pottery, serene art gallery and welcoming donkey sanctuary and the pressure to book for a stress-free weekend increases. Mid-February is traditionally time for romance, so the forthcoming weekend is entitled Bubbles for Lovers. There's a good choice of sparkles and Cap Classiques available in the valley, including one that's organic.

To find out more visit  <https://slowwineweekends.com/bubbles-for-lovers-february-2017/>and add a plethora of bubbles to your stay in this timeless village.

Looking ahead to late March, the organisers are putting together a four-day getaway focussing on the harvest in and around the Breede river valley. See  <https://slowwineweekends.com/four-day-harvest-experience-17-21-march-2017/>

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                                   2017 PINOTAGE AND BILTONG FESTIVAL  - ESSENTIAL DIARY DATE!

 

 

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Indulge in two of SA’s favourite delicacies on Saturday, 22  April and Sunday, 23  April 2017 at the  annual Pinotage & Biltong Festival, which takes place at  L’Avenir Wine Estate just outside Stellenbosch from 11h00-17h00.   

 A wide range of biltong products will be paired with specific wines from some of South Africa’s top Pinotage producers for each tasting. Guests can taste and buy some of the best red Pinotages or have fun with alternatives including rosé’s, bubblies, blends and even a white Pinotage!

 

The event is family-friendly with live music, food trucks, light meals and casual seating under the trees next to the dam or on the lawns in front of the cellar. The charity beneficiary is Anna Foundation who will be present to entertain the kids and raise funds for their many worthy projects.  Visit www.annafoundation.com for more info.

 

On 14 and 15 October 2017 it’s the turn of Gauteng fans when the festival will be held at the Leriba Hotel in Centurion, Gauteng as part of the official Pinotage Day celebrations, presented by the Pinotage Association.

 

Tickets @ R200 pp includes a branded crystal wine glass, a biltong cup and a pairing card for the Free Pinotage and Biltong tastings.  Tickets  at www.plankton.mobi.   or www.computicket.co.za from 1 March 2017.

 

For more info visit www.cvomarketing.co.za  

 

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Tagged in: Events Food News Wine
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Posted by on in Restaurants

Wineland news, events and seasonal attractions for December and into January 2017.

 

Travellers taking Route 62 will find new attractions at the historic Boplaas Family vineyards at Calitzdorp.The latest addition to their distilled product range is the Boplaas Whisky, a blended cask aged grain whisky,  to be enjoyed on the rocks or with a mixer.The Boplaas Whisky is made from maize, and distilled to an alcohol content of 93% and then diluted with distilled water to 68% strength.  Aging takes place in American oak  for between 54 and 60 months.  This is followed up with a short period in Boplaas brandy barrels. The whisky is again diluted with distilled water to 43% and then bottled unfiltered.

Then there's the Boplaas Stoepsit bistro - self-explanatory eaterie to visit.b2ap3_thumbnail_boplaas-something2.jpg

Pop! Pop! Pop! Boplaas will operate a pop-up tasting station in Sedgefield from the 16 - 31 December (excluding Sundays) where visitors can  taste the wine ranges, place an order and get it delivered to their  holiday destination in the Garden Route (next day deliveries, except on public holidays and weekends). For  more information, phone 044-2133326,  or email boplaas@mweb.co.za, admin@boplaas.co.za .

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Diners Club Winemaker of the year 2016

 

At a gala dinner last week, Pierre Wahl of Rijks received this award – many would say it was overdue.  Pierre commented "It has taken 21 years of love, determination, and patience to be named Winemaker of the Year. At Rijk's we concentrate only on Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz which has allowed me to focus and understand  these cultivars over time from budburst to harvest. “ Congratulations Pierre.

 

 

 

For visitors who prefer an informal feast with delicious wines, Delheim’s riverside picnics offer laidback lunchtime feasts on the Klip river banks, surrounded by abundant birdlife.                          b2ap3_thumbnail_delheim-picnic-2.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_delheim-picnic-1.jpg

 

The picnics for two cost R460 and the fare is plentiful, from cheese and charcuterie through to salads and roast beef bagels. Mini milk tarts make the finale. Vegetarian options are available as are children’s picnics at R100. A bottle of the estate sauvignon blanc or pinotage rose or cab/shiraz blend accompanies the fare. The Delheim picnics are offered seven days a week. Book by phoning 021 888 4607 or email restaurant@delheim.com.

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NEDERBURG PLANTS NEW VINES IN OLD SOIL

 

Platter’s Winery of the year has been planting interesting new cultivars to honour, they say, founder Phillipus Wolvaart.

Chambourcin a French-American hybrid grape, is one of them, noted for dark colour and spicy black cherry and plum flavours, noted for its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions as well as pests and diseases. Nederburg has also been experimenting with  Mediterranean varietals that are well-suited to changing climatic conditions for more than a decade.  Tempranillo and Graciano were established at their  Simondium farm in 2004, and a small mixed block of Carignan and Grenache on the farm in Paarl in 2008.

Varieties such as Chambourcin, Vidal blanc and Seyval blanc are being planted, both to battle climate change and help eliminate pest and disease control by planting disease-resistant cultivars.

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FACET         FOUNDATION         EXPANDS       FLEET      OF        MOBILE  LEARNING 

CENTRES

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Graff Diamonds’ charitable initiative, For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), recently  announced the expansion of the Graff Mobile Learning Centre fleet in the Cape winelands.In partnership with the Pebbles Project, three additional mobile units will be joining the mobile library and computer lab which have been in operation since 2014. Founder and director of the Pebbles Project, Sophia Warner, explains, “The t new Mobile Learning Centres are literally ‘opportunities on wheels’. They’ve taken our after-school programme to a whole new level and will have an even greater impact within the community.”

 The centres provide much needed after-school support for scholars between the ages of 6 to 18 years whom attend local public schools throughout the Cape Winelands from Stellenbosch Valley to Citrusdal in the Cederberg Mountains. The FACET Mobile Learning Centres have grown to include 2 computer labs, 2 travelling libraries and a multi-purpose vehicle for more remote areas. They assist 522 students in the fields of   basic mathematics, literacy and computer related skills.  The challenges of poverty, alcoholism and increasing school drop-out rates affect education in these areas. The FACET Mobile Learning Centres fulfil an acute need among the region’s disadvantaged youth .In their partnership thus far, the Pebbles Project has received financial support from the FACET Foundation to the amount of R20 million.

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JANUARY 2017

The family wine estate, Jason’s Hill Private Cellar in the Slanghoek Valley,  is the venue for the not-to-be missed Jason’s Hill Makietie Outdoor Music Show on Saturday, 28 January 2017. Look forward to an explosive lineup of SA’s finest performers. See much loved Afrikaans performer, Laurika Rauch, live. She will be joined on stage by Loki Rothman for part of her performance. Potchefstroom native Bouwer Bosch and Cape Town based musician Gerald Clark will also perform. Relax on the immaculate lawns while the kids run around before the show starts at 6pm (gates open at 4pm). Delicious food and refreshments will be on sale.. Secure and free parking.. Tickets cost R180 per person and can be purchased from Computicket. For more information contact Jason’s Hill Private Cellar on 023 344 3256 or info@jasonshill.co.za.

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Stellenbosch Harvest Parade in City of Oaks

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The oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch will be invaded by a colourful community of winemaking charismatics on Saturday, January 28. The annual Harvest Parade ushers in the grape harvest season with convivial cheer, paying homage the invaluable contribution of South Africa’s farm workers. This  Stellenbosch procession traditionally includes marching bands, Cape minstrels, drum majorettes and a flotilla of beautifully decorated tractors, trailer and trucks. The trouperepresentsparticipating wineries and will meander its way through the streets of Stellenbosch

b2ap3_thumbnail_SWR-Harvest-Parade-1_20161213-125555_1.jpgThe Harvest Parade, presented in conjunction with the Stellenbosch Municipality, gets underway on 28 January from 9am. It will be followed by a harvest blessing ceremony at the town hall in Plein Street at 10am. It signals the start of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay, which takes place at the Coetzenburg sports grounds from 24 to 26 February. Buy tickets now at www.webtickets.co.za. For more information visit www.wineroute.co.za; contact Tel: 021 886 8275, or send an email to marketing@wineroute.co.za.

 

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