Stellenbosch and Paarl
I’ve heard great things about the South African vineyards, and couldn’t wait to check them out. Our hostel offered a full day wine country tour through Wine Flies.
Our tour guide, Larhens was well knowledgable, and had a dry sense of humor, further enhanced by his Afrikaner drawl. We were the second group to get picked up on the tour. Already in the van were Jira, a Semester at Sea student, along with Nhat and Antonio, who were in town to visit her. Next we stopped at the port to pick up Melissa, Allie, and Sophie, who were also Semester at Sea students. We had to wait for some time while the driver looked for the additional passengers. On the plus side, we rocked out to some amazing tunes. On the down side, the van’s battery died! I thought that we’d have to get a jump or something, but our trusty tour guide just asked a few people to help him roll the van down the hill backwards. And then the battery started! Is that really all it takes to restart a battery?!
We hit up 5 vineyards, starting at a small boutique winery.
Next was a more rustic winery, where they still do things the old fashioned way. They actually produced a very special blend for the royal wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene! Here we also had dark chocolate flavored with chili, alongside the wine.
En route to the next winery, Larhens gave everyone Biltong to sample, which is basically dried beef, but with a completely different texture than jerky.
Then we went to a more modern winery, where we also had lunch. Food, eh. Views, awesome!
We also had a scenic tour of downtown Stellenbosch, where Larhens gave us a brief background on history and rugby!
During the next drive, Larhens had us split into groups and complete a quiz about wine making, South African History, and a couple fun questions such as “What is the average age of the group?” Then we went to the next winery, Fairview, which was my favorite of the bunch. In addition to having great wine tasting, they had an incredible CHEESE tasting! I love cheese!
Finally, Spice Route, a winery with a gorgeous view!
This is where quiz answers were revealed… team Back Of The Bus for the win!
For the drive home, Larhens poured us all mugs of Brandy, alongside dried apricots. Brandy in the van!
Overall, a wonderful day trip. We really lucked out with a fun tour group, making it a memorable day. It really made me wish that I did Semester at Sea when I was in college!
The deets: Wine Flies offers full day wine country tour for 550 Rand (About 70 USD). Included in the price is pick up and drop off service, lunch, 5 wine tastings, a cheese tasting, chocolate, brandy, and dried apricots, with an even drier sense of humor!