Robertson Slow Festival 2012 wine food and nature at its best MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Experience the Best of Wine, Food, and Nature at the Robertson Slow Festival 2012

When I left rainy Cape Town on a Saturday morning to attend the Robertson Slow Festival, I couldn’t help but wish for clear skies and a vibrant Robertson Wine Valley. As we approached Robertson, though, it was clear that the famous festival hadn’t escaped the downpour.

But here’s the thing about Robertson Slow. It’s not like the big wine events with crowds of people. It’s more about small dinner parties where strangers come together over a bottle of wine. It’s not about studying the label to understand the wine. It’s about savoring a glass with the farm owner and hearing the winemakers themselves share the stories behind their wines.

The festival is made up of a series of cozy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, each hosted by a different wine farm. And of course, they serve their own wines. It was tough to choose, but we finally settled on these ones.

Wine tasting at Burcon Wines and horseback rides through Nerina Guest Farm

So, let me tell you a story about something really cool. You see, Nerina Guest Farm and Burcon Wines may sound like two different things, but they’re actually one and the same. This awesome couple, Amanda Conradie and Reneé Burger, not only run a guest farm and take care of their horses, they also make and sell their own delicious wines. Oh, and they drink a lot of it too!

Now, let me spill the beans on how it all started. Amanda’s dad, Oompie, got a little mixed up and planted Chardonnay and Shiraz vines together. When it was time to harvest, they were in for a surprise. But instead of giving up, they thought, why not use these happy accidents to our advantage? And that’s how they made their first wine. They called it Oompie se Oeps, which just means “Oompie’s Mistake” in case you were wondering. This wine perfectly captures the spirit of Burcon Wines. It’s not about fancy wine lingo and showing off. It’s about friends coming together, opening a few bottles, and simply enjoying the drink.

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When Amanda and I tried the Miskien Christine, a muskadel, we were in for a delightful surprise. Now, I have to admit, neither of us are the biggest fans of muskadel, but this one was truly special. Amanda had a brilliant idea to savor the joy of this delicious wine for as long as possible, so she cleverly packaged it in a two-liter box with a handmade label.

Curiosity piqued, Amanda disappeared for a moment and returned with all the fixings for her own special ‘cocktail’. With ice, a fresh slice of lemon, and the delightful Christine, she concocted the most refreshing drink imaginable – perfect for enjoying by the riverside during those warm summer days.

When we woke up the next morning, the rain was still pouring down. Undeterred, we decided to go ahead with our planned horseback ride at Amanda’s farm. Amanda has nine horses that mean the world to her, and she is always eager to take people of all skill levels to explore the beautiful mountains nearby.

Our horses for the ride were Amber and Thamshaka, with the laid-back Tequila casually joining us. Throughout the ride, Amanda would stop every now and then on a hill to share interesting stories about the mountains’ history and the incredible plant life that thrives there.

When it comes to accommodations, a stay at Nerina Guest Farm is surprisingly affordable. You have a variety of options, including the original Manor House, a cozy rondawel that can accommodate up to five people, or even camping right by the river. And that’s not all – your stay also includes access to activities like swimming, canoeing, hiking, sipping on Muskadel cocktails, mountain biking, and of course, horseback riding.

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 023-626-2012

Homecooked Cellar Dinner at Esona

When I arrived at Esona Wine Farm, the snow-capped mountains and icy air made me shiver. The building we approached seemed abandoned, but as soon as I stepped into the historic cellar, I was greeted by a warm atmosphere. Candles flickered, lamps glowed, and heaters kept us cozy. The hosts, Rowan and Caryl Beattie, made us feel at home in their newly established boutique winery. Caryl, the chef for the evening, prepared a delicious meal, while Salome Buys-Vermeulen, the viticulturist and oenologist, shared the captivating story of Esona, paired with four courses and five wines.

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As I explored the world of wine, I stumbled upon a delightful surprise – the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc stood out as my top pick. Contrary to common belief, the ideal time to savor it is not immediately after bottling. I eagerly compared this gem with the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, marveling at their distinct flavors while indulging in delectable smoked salmon canapés. Our journey then led us to a cozy spot, adorned with enchanting candlelight, where we delighted in the divine combination of a rich and hearty lobster bisque paired with the exquisite 2010 Chardonnay.

I couldn’t wait to try the Karoo lamb shank for the first time after reading about it in the August issue of Getaway and seeing the amazing photo blog about the Karoo and its lamb by Russel Smith. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The lamb was cooked to perfection by Caryl and served with couscous and a delicious vegetable tartlet. We paired it with Esona’s only red wine, the 2010 Shiraz, and it was the perfect complement. To top it all off, we enjoyed Peter Bayly’s Cape Vintage Port with our cheese boards, creating a truly memorable and homely meal shared among friends.

To learn more about Esona, visit their website at You can also contact them via email at [email protected] or give them a call at 082 576 8093.

Now, let me tell you about our night at Beau Soleil.

I stumbled upon this hidden gem of a building as I entered Bonnievale. It’s a majestic Cape Dutch structure with a grand driveway and lively roosters. Surprisingly, there was no one in sight when we arrived, but we found the keys to our room right there in the lock. As we entered, we were welcomed by a cozy and warm room, the perfect place to rest after indulging in the delectable food and wine that Bonnievale had to offer.

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If you’re interested, you can find more information about Beau Soleil at their website: If you have any questions or inquiries, you can reach them via email at [email protected] or give them a call at tel: 023-616-3052.

Regional Food Market on Klipdrift Farm

This marvelous market serves as the grand finale to a weekend filled with gastronomic delights. Here, you can find an abundance of fresh produce, exquisite arts and crafts, tempting pastries and coffee, and even charming little houses made of shortcake. People of all ages gather here, basking in the warm sun that has finally decided to make an appearance.

Oh boy, let me tell you about the incredible buffet lunch that I recently had at Bon Cap’s Bon Rouge Bistro. When I walked into that place, the mouth-watering scent of a traditional South African buffet hit me right away, and believe me, my appetite was instantly awakened.

The best part was the variety of wine I had to choose from. They had an endless selection, showcasing both the Bon Cap range and The Ruins range. Talk about spoiling us with choices!

One wine that really caught my attention was The Ruins Sauvignon Blanc. Let me tell you, it was the perfect wine for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. It had a light and refreshing taste that just hit the spot. You’ve got to try it!

And so the feast began. Imagine freshly baked bread, fish cooked on the grill, bobotie, meatballs, rice, roasted potatoes, grilled chicken, pumpkin pie, cauliflower in creamy sauce, and a delightful assortment of six different salads. If you haven’t rediscovered your love for traditional South African cuisine yet, the little jelly-filled glasses topped with custard, the malva pudding, the carrot cake, and the five other baked desserts will definitely do the trick.

We sat overlooking the sunny garden while the fire crackled in the corner – a perfect ending to a wonderful celebration.

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Email us: [email protected]
Call us: 023-626-1628

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