Surrounded by the Riviersonderend and Langeberg mountains and with the Breede River running through it, the Langeberg Valley is made up of five beautiful towns; McGregor, Robertson, Bonnievale, Ashton and Montagu.
This area is known for its fantastic wines – think Robertson Wacky Wine Festival – olives, olive oil, country cuisine and incredible nature offering hikes, mountain bike rides, river rafting and skydiving.
The sleepy village of McGregor.
Although the media trip only officially began on Wednesday morning, our group decided to head to the small town of McGregor on Tuesday night, for an early check in and a relaxing evening before all the activities.
I am always amazed at the lush oasis that McGregor is, with English roses in abundance, despite the dry conditions. I checked into my accommodation, Laurel Cottage, a charming country home surrounded by apricot trees. Fully equipped for every season – a swimming pool out back, a braai area, and inside a cosy fireplace.
(Sound good? Take a look at the McGregor Country Getaways collection).One of the media Megan Daniels from Eat With Me made us all a homemade spaghetti bolognese at The Kite House.
DAY 1: Wednesday
Wednesday was an early start on Wednesday – we loaded into the Blue Dot Tours bus (http://www.bluedottours.co.za/) to make our way to a local wine farm on Wonderfontein Estate just outside the village, I was excited to taste the Paul Rene MCC!
But first, it was time to get artistic. We were treated to a workshop of art screen printing, where we created beautiful bean bag warmers – perfect for the nippy Karoo nights.
Afterwards our generous hosts, winemakers Monica and Henk van nie Kerk, treated us to a lovely light lunch of summer salads complimented with their range of apple-fresh MCC.
We learnt that each bottle of Paul Rene MCC is fermented for no less than 20 months on the lease, which creates that distinct vibrant apricot, mousse flavour.
Later that day we went wine tasting and wine blending at Excelsior Estate, followed by a farm tour and a scrumptious meal with the family behind the winning wines.
I got to blend and bottle my very own wine in their tasting room on the dam, which was super fun! It named it after my wife, who wasn’t able to join me for the trip because she was attending her brother’s wedding in the UK.
What a stunning first day, filled with delicious flavours and experiences. It’s always interesting to meet the families behind the wine brands, and hear their stories firsthand. We couldn’t wait to see what day 2 had in store!
DAY 2: Thursday
Thursday meant a visit to winery Weltevrede Estate near Bonnievale. They have a 100-year-old cellar where you can enjoy a candlelight wine tasting in one of the old wine tanks. My favourites were their Enthoes (meaning enthusiasm) and The Ring MCC.
What was particularly inspiring is that they produce a 1912 range named after their permanent workers on the farm. Not to mention that the winemaker, Philip, once worked to revive the vineyards on Robben Island.
Next up was De Wetshof, the Premium South African Chardonnay House, situated on the well-known R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale.
De Wetshof is particularly known in Chardonnay circles for the role they played in introducing the Burgundian grape to the country. We were welcomed with a glass of De Wetshof’s Methode Cap Classique (hmm) and then were taken on a tour of the magnificent vineyard views.
Next we were treated to sweet and savoury snacks to compliment our tasting journey. Chardonnay is a favourite wine of mine so I was in my element – I particularly enjoyed the Bateleur Chardonnay 2014 and the Dewetshof ‘Site’ Chardonnay 2014. I will definitely be getting my hands on more of this wine!
DAY 3: Friday
Friday was a day for tastes of the unusual. First was a visit to the charming Rheboskraal Olive Estate, home of Annalien and Corrie van der Colff. The story goes that they fell in love with McGregor and dreamt of owning an olive farm with an old Cape Dutch style house, to farm and raise a family. A dream come true it seems!
We enjoyed a tour of the olive orchards, accompanied by a musical performance by Annalien on guitar. We learnt that the farm produced a whole host of olive products – from creams, olive leaf extract to wet olives, dried olives and olive oils.
Returning to the farmhouse, I appreciated a cup of the traditional ‘can coffee’ with my country breakfast on the stoep. Another favourite was their smoked olive tapenade – make sure to try it next time you’re in the area.Traditional country coffee to put hair on your chest.
The final stop was micro brewery Saggy Stone on the Amandalia Farm near Robertson.
They offer a beer tasting of 5 delicious local craft beers for an affordable R30 per person. This allows you to find the beer you’d best like with your lunch. They offer great rustic style cooking, using beer in many of their dishes – I enjoyed one of their burgers.
I had a fantastic time in Langeberg Valley and will definitely be back! Highly recommend for an affordable staycation for locations and a must-do for overseas tourists. Fantastic wine tasting and so much more. Certainly one of the hidden gems of the Cape.Our media group!
BONUS: See McGregor from above at dawn! By DroneEye.