The first Saturday of March is the Paarl festival Ommiberg – Round the Rock. It is the festival to welcome in the new wine which is unfiltered wine which looks like cloudy apple juice. Young and fresh – very different. You buy a festival pass and this includes entry to the event (you can visit any of the 13 vineyards that are participating around Paarl) a stylish tasting glass and free participation of events that are included in each vineyard. Price is 120 rand which is equivalent to about £7.
We decided to start for 10am and go to the vineyards that are situated north of Paarl. We went to Windmeul which did a Farmers Breakfast for 50 rand which is equivalent to £3.50. There they had a farmers market, grape stomping competition and a traditional African band.
We then travelled on to Pederberg which the vineyard’s logo is a zebra. They had large machinery for extracting the grapes. The smell of wine was everywhere. The liveband was more of traditional country music and a market selling food and goods. Here we came across a German couple selling flammkuchen – which said this is not pizza but flammkuchen. Rob spoke in German to them and found out they are architects and have been living in South Africa for 18 years and only did the sellling of flammkuchen as a side business for charity.
Some wineyards were busier than other. Druk-My-Niet was a nice little one. Again owned by a Munich couple and the food they were offering was German traditional sausages . We sat next to an English couple Roger and Pauline who introduced us to quite a few people. They have an olive farm next door and had lived in South Africa a few years after living in Spain for 18 years. They said they loved living in the sun and would never go back to England to the cold. They had travelled quite a bit around Africa – Namibia, Mozembique, Zambia, Tanzania and never had any trouble at all.
We then proceeded to Nederburg which is a large vineyard where we can find this wine easily in the UK. It has one of the oldest Dutch Cape Manor houses and had beautiful gardens. The history of the farm and its successful farm is owed to yet again a German!
I was persuaded to try some grape stomping. I’d been told that many different nationalities had had a go at this but no-one from England. So I couldn’t let the side down and as they had the facility to wash my feet afterwards I couldn’t say no. I would be stomping unusually in grapes that have a red juice.
Normally red wine is obtained from the skin colour when it is left to contact the juice. These grapes were Rubinet which produces red juice. It was a strange sensation to have my feet in the grapes.
They loaded fresh grapes for me to really stomp. It some areas the grapes were really warm.
The last vineyard we finished was at Mellasat vineyard. Here you had the opportunity to have a vinotherapy foot massage. Grapes mixed with sea salt with lavender and lemongrass essential oil and massaged with grape oil. Unfortunately there was a little queue so I was unable to have this.
In the evening we went to our friends house – Welsh and Thelma and their son Emille. Thelma had made a traditional South African Malay curry which was delicious. We had a fun evening and talked about how life is in South Africa.