The best wine experiences in Robertson


Planning a trip up to Robertson but not sure what wine experiences to add to your adventure?! Not to worry The Wine Fox has you covered...

Below is your expert guide to four of the best wine experiences to be immersed in when visiting the beautiful Robertson Wine Valley and surrounding areas.

"Robertson, dubbed the 'valley of vines and roses', the Robertson district's lime-rich soils make the area eminently suitable for racehorse stud farming and also, of course, winegrowing. Situated in the Breede River valley, the river is the lifeblood of this lower rainfall region. Although summer temperatures can be high, cooling south-easterly winds channel moisture-laden air into the valley.Robertson is renowned for the quality of its wines and while traditionally considered white wine territory and known mainly for its Chardonnays and more recently for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc, it is also the source of some of the Cape's finest red wines, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the distinctive fortified dessert wines for which it was originally famed continue to be produced". `~ WOSA

Esona

Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions
Esona is situated between Roberston and Bonnievale. The charming rustic winery means "the very one" in Xhosa and is my favourite stop off for a platter lunch while visiting the area. This charming boutique winery is nestled beside the breathtaking Breede River. Their tasting room is surrounded by bushy vineyards and rolling mountain ranges. Esona is known for producing excellent Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines for your drinking pleasure.
Recommended experience: Taste the difference experience
Esona offers an informative sensory education in the form of a wine glass comparison tasting that highlights the importance of the type and quality of wine glass you use when drinking wine. Have you ever done a wine glass comparison tasting?
This tasting for me really highlights how important the right wine glass can be, the difference will shock you! If your eyes hadn't seen the wine poured into each glass then you'd struggle to believe you were drink the same wine.
Not only is it fun doing a wine glass comparison at Esona in Riedel Glasses, but you also get to taste two vintages from each verietal: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz. Each wine is also paired with tasty fruit preserves, chocolate, music and art!
The wine tasting takes place in "The Kuip" which are Esona’s old fermentation tanks. Being in "The Kuip" really takes you back into the former years of winemaking. The Kuip has a welcoming, romantic and ambient atmosphere. Soft dancing flickers of the candles play the mood perfectly, you cant help but feel content, warm and sensory spoiled while enjoying this experience.
Price: R160,00 Per Person (Booking required)
Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt
Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions
Recommend Platter Lunch at Caryl’s Bistro
Enjoy a spectacular platter lunch on their upstairs deck, surround by vineyards, the Breederiver and glorious mountains. Caryl's Bistro uses fresh farm produce locally sourced from Robertson and surrounding areas.
Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions
Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt
Inside area for chilly days

Weltevrede

Weltevrede is on the outskirts of Robertson in Bonnievale and owned by fourth generation family wine maker, Philip Jonker. This 160 hectare wine farm has been owned by the Jonker family since 1912 who pride themselves in wine that is a true reflection of their terroir.

Recommended wine experience: underground candlelight cellar tasting

Not only one of my favourite Robertson wine experiences but one of my all-time tops. Weltevrede is home to some historic 90 year old fermentation tanks that were built in 1930. Once forgotten about and left to sleep, these dormant wine vats have been rediscovered and opened by connecting tunnels to create a truly unique experience.

Stepping into the cellar or should I say wine cave you immediately feel like a little kid who's about to embark on a mysterious adventure in the dark, with the knowledge that there's candy at the end to be found...well in our case delicious wines.

As the door shuts you stand around the entrance waiting for your eyes to adjust to the low dimmed candle glow. After 5 minutes you’re ready to set off along the path of dripping candles lighting your way through the maze of tunnels...the little kid in you may ask "what if the candles blow out!", but not to fear the wind and weather elements know nothing of these walls...the flames will blaze on in soft crackles and whispers of old tales as you walk in childlike wonder.

Eventually, the candle path ends and you walk into a large old concrete wine vat, the walls still have stains from the wine they held and there's a deep earthy old cellar and wax scent adding to the sensory elements with the best part being a table full of wine treats.

Inside the vats the world comes to a pause, no sounds from outside, no cellphone reception, no electricity. Only you, the wine and the storyteller (Steyn Fullard Marketing Manager at Weltevede) going down the magical rabbit hole of Weltevede.

With the lack of distraction from the outside world or surroundings your nose and palate come alive and your mind is consumed with the tales of wines grown from a small vineyard on Robin island, Nuns learning to make communion wines and the past/present of Weltevrede; I won't go into too much, as I don't want to ruin your experience or give away too much. What can be said with 100% certainty, when you leave that cellar, you feel like you’ve definitely been a part of something truly special, you’ll also leave with a very satisfied palate from the outstanding wines.

Underground tasting experience: R120 (booking required).

Zandvliet

Zandvliet is the home of award winning Shiraz and delectable Chardonnay here in Robertson. They're also well known for their famous mandarin Clemengold Gin ~ which I happen to be a huge fan of!

What makes their wines shine, is the magic locked within their soils; Calcareous Karoo, with a red clay underlay, dotted with pockets of chalky limestone, this is what they call kalkveld. The kalkveld is what gives Zandvliet their identity; so important that they named their new tasting room after it!

Exploring the old muscadel tanks | Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions

Recommended wine experience: Wine Blending

Become a wine alchemist and blend a bottle of wine that's truly unique and a reflection of your person taste. You wont have to get it right on the first try, have fun trying out different wine ratios with the cultivars available, till you find your secrete winning recipe.

After coming up with your special blend it's time to put your blend into your personalized bottle. You'll cork, label, name and wax dip your creation. As you can see below I got a little carried away when it came down to the waxing part, but hey they don't call me the mischievous fox for nothing.

This experience is perfect to do with a group of friends or a partner. How special to open your own blended bottle to celebrate with those you cherish.

Wine Experiences

Zandvliet Clemengold wine pairing (Chardonnay paired with Clemengold jam, a Shiraz paired with dark orange chocolate, a Muscat paired with biscotti) : R100

Zandvliet cellar tour and wine blending: R150

Zandvliet wine tasting: R50

Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions

Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions

After your interactive blending experience, tantalize your taste buds with a flavorsome fresh antipasto feast: think moreish cheese, farm baked bread, local seasonal fruits, Shiraz jam, cured meats and more. On chilly winter days lunch and tasting are served in the new renovated Kalkveld tasting center. Sunny days alfresco wine tasting and dinning is a must.

Tip, make sure before you leave you explore the historic old Muscadel tanks that Robertson is known for!

Photo by Timothy Lester, Phumula Productions

Jan Harmsgat

I recently had the golden opportunity to escape to a peaceful retreat on the southern outskirts of Robertson beneath the Langeberg Mountains with its rolling bulges and earthy sage green hues.

My weekend place of renewal was Jan Harmsgat, a gorgeous historic farm dating back to 1723. Jan Harmsgat caters for simpler country life by offering gorgeous 5-Star Guest accommodation that is rich in history, rustic appeal and oozes country charm and makes for a delightful farm break getaway. The farm also has function facilities and a farm to fork restaurant called Just Amy. Jan Harmsgat is the perfect venue choice for a romantic rustic farm wedding and a quiet romantic hide away.

Recommended wine experience: Sunset 4x4 & Picnic over looking the Langeberg Mountains (Only for accommodation guests)

This experience was the highlight of my stay. Late in the afternoon our group took a magnificent sunset 4x4 safari drive though the farm olive groves, pomegranates and citrus orchards. We passed the vineyards and ventured into the nature reserve where we spotted Black Wildebeest grazing in the late afternoon sun between the tall dancing wild grass. Higher up the bumpy 4x4 track we rode till we reached the flat plateau of the hilltop.

To my absolute surprise and amazement a luxurious spread of local cheese, home grown olives, preserves and charcuterie was laid out and fine wine tasting was about to commence. Our farm host and guide, Francois, began the introduction and I was so ready to being the journey into their wines.

The first we tried was the Sauvignon 2018, which is their youngest vintage, and the only wine in their range that is not matured in oak. This wine is matured for six months on the lees in stainless steel tanks ~ Was outstanding!

There was much praise amongst the group when it came to discovering the JHG wine range. After the tasting we helped ourselves to a glass of our favourite wine to enjoy with our sunset feast (I opted for the Pinotage) while admiring the 360 view of the Langeberg Mountains, the farm and vast valleys below. Blissful banter followed while taking in the last golden rays of the day.

When the Langeberg Mountain slopes turn pink and the full moon took its place in the twilight... those are the moments that make for a good life and provide us some relief and upliftment in a challenging world.

Cost: R150 and can include a sunset fire for those chilly evenings (perfect for snuggles).

FULL STORY HERE: Jan Harmsgat

Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt

Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt

Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt

Photo by Jared Ruttenburg - Jaredincpt

Read more about these two unique boutique wine estates to visit in Robertson: Mont Blois & Lozärn wines

Mont Blois

Lozärn wines

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