Follow the rainbow for fanciful farm hopping and pantry shopping! The people of this Overberg town have lined up a dazzling spectrum of activities and fun that showcase the best of the region.
The annual Spring Weekend comes to the pretty little village of Bot River in a kaleidoscope of exciting wine, food and genuine, country-style fun, when all the participating wine farms will throw open their doors for visitors to taste their cellar gems and unique local produce through convivial farm hopping and pantry shopping. “The wineries of Bot River are truly a welcoming community and the Spring Weekend is one of our favourite occasions to showcase our farms and the riches to be found on them,” says Melissa Nelsen of Genevieve MCC.
The tone for the jam-packed weekend programme will be set at the Best of Bot Wines exclusive dinner on Friday, 1 September (tickets are R850pp from Quicket and include a Spring Weekend pass). The event stars Forage restaurant executive chef Gregory Henderson, renowned for roaming local pastures in search of ingredients for his indigenous dining experiences; Higgo Jacobs, head of the SA Association of Sommeliers, and fellow sommelier Ewan Mackenzie. Together they will present an expert food and wine pairing showcase, which offers the perfect context leading into the weekend.
Colours of the rainbow
On Saturday and Sunday, Bot River’s participating wineries will turn on the charm, each representing a colour of the rainbow. They include newcomer to the Bot River wine family, Arcangeli Family Vineyards; Barton Vineyards; Villion Wines; Luddite Wines; Genevieve MCC; Beaumont Family Wines; Gabrielskloof Wine Estate; Rivendell Estate & Vineyards; Paardenkloof Estate, and Maremmana Estate.
- Why be a shrinking violet if you can unleash your inner Italian at the new Arcangeli Wines, where a BARolo wine bar with an Italian-South African twist is on offer? Violet is, of course, Arcangeli’s part in this rainbow theme as it presents a rare food and wine experience.
- It’s orange for the vines at Barton Wines, which dishes up a smorgasbord of fun from burgers to paintball, wine blending to tractor rides. Enter the wine blending competition and stand a chance to win a two-night stay in one of the Barton Villas.
- Wildekrans goes pretty in pink for the whole weekend, serving up its MCC Brut Rosé as you enter its gates. Enjoy a light meal at the wine tasting room or something more formal at Forage; bring the kids for tractor rides and the jungle gym, too.
- Villion Family Wines waves a big red flag for spring this year. Book your table and don’t forget your comfortable shoes for the Spit & Skoffel dinner dance on 2 September from 19h30. There will be Overberg lamb on the spit, complimentary wines per table and a wine bar too. The event takes place at the Afdaksrivier Nursery and tickets for the three-course dinner, wines and dance are only R385pp. Villion’s wines can be tasted throughout the weekend at the nursery too, where there’s a large garden, sandpit and jumping castle for children and a coffee shop.
- Silver is the colour for Luddite, fitting of sterling wines and sublime experience awaiting visitors to the farm during the festival. In addition to latest vintage releases, including the alluring Saboteur White 2017, there will be the extraordinary food truck run by Jason from the eponymous Cape Town bakery.
- Beaumont Family Wines lays claim to blue. Think little flowers and azure skies – and how you’ll feel if you fail to book for the special vertical tasting of the Hope Marguerite, a benchmark South African Chenin blanc. A childminder will be on duty for the whole weekend, along with catered lunch and daily activities.
- Genevieve MCC will be decked out in a celebratory turquoise to present breakfast with bubbles at its new home, Klein Botrivier Farm on the Karwyderskraal Road. Grub’s up at 09h00 to 11h30, Saturday and Sunday (tickets are R200 through Quicket or at email@example.com). You can also pop in for a tasting, learn to sabrage a bottle like a cavalry rider, and linger longer with cheese and charcuterie platters.
- Mellow yellow is the colour of Gabriëlskloof Estate, a stunning, family-friendly destination surrounded by wheat and canola fields for most of the year. The restaurant menu will be inspired by spices and heritage cooking with mealies, curried fish, bobotie and the like. For something lighter, try the tasting room’s new Mzansi Tapas Taster platters at R250/couple, which comes with four estate wines to taste. Kids under 12 eat for free from the kiddies menu.
- For Rivendell Estate & Vineyards, there’s the shimmer of gold, the promise of a royal experience. Settle in for a long lunch and wall-to-ceiling views of the vineyards and mountains, to enjoy its special wine and canapé tasting plate in the spirit of spring.
- The essence of the season is reflected in green – the colour for Paardenkloof Ecology Lifestyle Farm. Enjoy wine tasting and a festival of fynbos in its Garden Restaurant and farm market. Attend a talk on landscaping with fynbos each day at 09h00 and order a picnic basket for lunch. Bring the children and their gumboots to explore the veggie patch, cuddle in the petting zoo or simply navigate the jungle gym. Then, wrap up each day from 17h00 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an evening of live jazz, pizza and sundowners (tickets are R180pp and must be booked by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 079 504 3593.
Sundowners will also be served up at Maremmana Polo Estate, where you can relax with a drink and a boerewors roll, as all the rainbow colours recede from the sky. The rainbow bar opens on Saturday evening from 17h00 to 19h30.
Date: 1 to 3 September
Tickets: R100 pp (u18 free) at www.quicket.co.za unless specified otherwise. Weekend pass includes an armband and wine glass, which you may collect at the Bot River tourism office. Quicket stations will also be at Beaumont, Gabriëlskloof, and Wildekrans on the weekend.
For accommodation options in the area, visit: www.botriverwines.com.
Contact: Melissa Nelsen on 083 302 6562 or email Melissa@genevievemcc.co.za
Source and images: Random Hat for Bot River Wine Route