Thursday, April 05, 2007
I had almost forgotten how much I love wine. Almost. But the last two days brought it all back, in a wave of more or less nonstop celebration of the magical grape concoction; a fervent reminder of how much of a wino I really am. And what fun it is.
We headed out of Cape Town on the local train, an hour-long R12 ($1.50) journey into the heart of South Africa's wine industry: Stellenbosch... or Stelly, as the cool kids call it (right, Kevvie?). In and around the rolling green hills of Stelly are dozens upon dozens of wineries, surrounded on almost all sides by huge mountains. The scenery blows Napa right out of the water... In addition to the everyday splendor these wineries provide, it is also the beginning of fall in South Africa, so the vines are all beginning to turn intense shades of red, gold, green and brown.
Seeing how we had minimal time to spend in Stelly, were without a car, and all the wineries are very spread out, we opted for something we usually avoid like the plague: an organized tour. Now, I've said it before and I'm saying it again... I'm not a fan of the group tours. But this one was awesome. It was a full day of adventure, getting shuttled around three different areas of wine country with a bunch of other fantastically lush folks. We visited 4 gorgeous wineries, saw a lot of the countryside, had a yummy lunch (with plenty of wine), tasted dozens of wines
and even some farm fresh cheeses, and learned about the winemaking process. By the end of the day, our quiet group of 12 (some of us were, umm, suffering quite a bit from the previous night's escapades) had turned into a raucous group of wine-loving drunkards, and we began opening & drinking bottles in the van in between wineries. It was a very full day, and there couldn't have been a better way to do it.