February might be the month of love, but a cursory search of the internet suggests that December is in fact the most popular for engagements. Still, you’ll need to come up with a great location to treat the apple of your eye and we’ve put together a short list of great venues in the Swartland.
And to make it even easier, we’ve added a few suggestions of locally made wines to take along.
1. Magic in Riebeek West – There’s a lookout point along a short hiking trail at Pulpit Rock winery in Riebeek West that will melt the coldest heart. The hike is a stiff 2km to the top, but a quarter of the way up is a shoulder on the Kasteelberg that’s just perfect to take in the view of valley. To hike, sign the register at reception or call for information on 022 461 2025.
Wines to try:
- Pulpit Rock – Stories Pinotage Rosé 2019. The tasting note describes the wine as having “ripe peach and apricot aromas, with attractive raspberry and tropical fruit”. www.pulpitrock.co.za
- Riebeek Valley Wine Co – Pinotage Rosé 2020. The wine is made from vineyards farmed specifically for producing rosé. www.riebeekvalleywineco.com
2. The beach at sunset – The Swartland wine and olive region incorporates the coastal town of Yzerfontein, home to a beautiful, sandy beach. The area is rife with the traces of early humans, which suggests that while your visit won’t be original, it has a very long record of success. While waiting for the sun to hit the sweet spot, you might share a little history: the town was established in the 1930s when the Katz family bought land here and later marketed sites for development. Yzerfontein means “iron fountain”, a name apparently taken from the tannic, rust-coloured water of a local spring.
Wines to try:
- Lammershoek – Innocent Rosé 2019. The wine is made in a Provencal style, from a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. www.lammershoek.co.za
- Leeuwenkuil – Swartland Rosé 2019. The wine is a blend of “mainly Cinsaut and Grenache” that shows aromas of raspberry, pomegranate and flavours of ripe watermelon and tangy cranberry. www.leeuwenkuilv.co.za
3. Enter the Dragonridge – Dragonridge is the name of a peak on the Paardeberg Mountain where Fynbos Estate (www.fynbosestate.co.za) lies. The peak is accessible by high-clearance vehicles, mountain bikes, or on foot. Also for climbing is the neighbouring Sonkop summit. The walk is easy and views, spectacular. Here you can see the Winterberge, the Franschhoek Mountains and Table Mountain, and win over any reluctant love.
Wines to try:
- Dragonridge Supernova Cap Classique. The 2018 is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage in equal measure. www.dragonridge.co.za
- Allesverloren – Tinta Rosé. The 2020 vintage is a blend of Tinta Barocca, Touriga Naçional, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Shiraz. Its winemaker describes the blend as having “the allure” of strawberries and raspberries, with a hint of vanilla. www.allesverloren.co.za
- AA Badenhorst – Secateurs Swartland Rosé. The 2020 vintage is a blend of Cinsaut, Shiraz and Grenache noir and recalls complex red fruits, spice, rose water and currants on the nose and palate. www.aabadenhorst.com
4. Mixed messages – Large bodies of water make great views. Misverstand Dam near Koringberg has just that, but its name – meaning “misunderstanding” – is a situation couples might wish to avoid. The story of the name hails from the 19th century when two farming families decided to move their homesteads north. They agreed to meet at a point on the Berg River. The first arrival waited and waited, but the second never arrived. A year went by, so they continued only to bump into a settlement a day’s travel later. It turned out that they’d mixed up the locations. The dam was built years later, in the late 1970s, to serve nearby towns. There are waterskiing and accommodation, and many beautiful spots to see the sunset in someone else’s eyes.
Wines to try:
- Kloovenburg – Grenache Blanc de Noir Brut NV. “Ripe aromas of strawberry and cherry,” say the tasting notes. “The palate shows cranberry, candy floss with a well-balanced acidity. Pairs well with pancakes with berries, duck, Thai foods and goat cheese.” www.kloovenburg.com
- Swartland – Winemaker’s Collection Blanc de Noir 2020, made from Pinotage grapes; Contours Collection Pinotage Rosé 2020 that the winemaker describes as having “fruity, candyfloss and hints of citrus on the nose…[and on the palate] sweet red cherries, strawberries and cream intermingle with Turkish delight and a touch of rosewater” ; and, Natural Sweet Rosé Sparkling that shows floral, fruity and red-berry notes. www.swartlandwinery.co.za
5. High on emotion – Another high location, this time near Koringberg, is the tasting room at Org de Rac organic wine farm (www.orgderac.com). The winery’s first vines were planted in 2002 and its approach made it one of the pioneers of South Africa’s organic wine industry. There are few better ways to impress your partner than with award winning wine in a glass and the spectacular views from the tasting room veranda. Bring a picnic blanket or sit under the umbrellas and just let the day slip by.
Wines to try:
- Org de Rac – La Verne MCC. The 2016 vintage is a blanc de blanc brut that shows aromas of sun-ripe apricot and peach, freshly baked bread and roasted almonds. On the palate, there’s a touch of citrus on the finish.
- Wildehurst – Velo Rosé. The 2019 vintage is made from Cinsaut. The winery’s website describes it as exuding “tropical aromas and red fruit flavours that linger on the palate, balanced with fresh acidity”. www.wildehurst.com
- Intellego – The Pink Moustache. The wine is traditionally made from Syrah and Cinsaut, but occasionally also has Mourvèdre in the mix. www.intellegowines.com
Read more: Wedding Venues of the Swartland