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Wine-Fueled Dreams of South Africa

I was excited to get the invitation from the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce to a South Africa wines tasting event this past Tuesday night at the South Africa Consulate General. Wines of South Africa led a fantastically informative presentation on what makes West Cape wines so very special. I learned Cape Town and the West Cape have a Mediterranean climate along with an extremely favorable geography for grape growing, and we heard the history of how influential 201 French Huguenots (25% of the population at the time) were for the wine making in the region. We tasted three whites and three reds of the West Cape, and the 2018 Backsberg Pumphhouse Shiraz was definitely my favorite!

So many things fascinate me about South Africa like the wines, of course, and also its amazing safaris, vibrant cities, and natural beauty. The article below is full of recommendations for South Africa from the team behind Virtuoso Life magazine. Enjoy!

Excerpt below from 6/24/2021 article by Elaine Srnka can be found HERE.

When a business trip took me to Cape Town several years ago, the city instantly captivated me. It checks all the boxes: urban energy and cosmopolitan perks (arts and culture, dining, shopping), coupled with adrenaline-fueled outdoor activities and proximity to winelands and safaris.

Practice Yoga on Table Mountain

Yoga got me through the pandemic, stretching loose the knots and stress induced by endless Zoom meetings. Unrolling a mat on the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s 3,500-foot summit plateau – with views of Table Bay and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during apartheid – would make for an iconic om.

Dive for Diamonds

Diving in waters in known for their sharks scares me – but for a girl’s best friend? Pass the mask and fins, and I’ll happily take the plunge. Sign me up for a private plane to the country’s west coast and the tutelage of dive masters and diamond sorters to find and select gems that will be made into a finished jewelry piece at a design studio in Stellenbosch – now that’s a memorable souvenir.

Stay at Ellerman House

I’d love to check into this 15-room boutique property for its strong sense of place, lush grounds, and incredible views. I hear its Wine Gallery houses more than 9,000 South African wines– that’s my kind of destination immersion. My daughter, an art history major with curator aspirations, would relish the owners’ South African art collection, one of the most extensive in the world.

Paddleboard the Peninsula

Exploring a destination from the shore offers a different perspective. Stand-up paddleboarding is one of my family’s favorite activities (we have our own boards at home), and I’m giddy about the prospect of paddling around the Cape Peninsula’s canals in search of penguins and other marine life (except sharks, please). A guide will lead us along the coast and down the peninsula to find prime snorkeling spots amid kelp forests, tucked-away coves, and reefs.

Winetaste on the Cape

There’s something about a vineyard vista that says “life is good.” Just a 45-minute drive from the city, the Cape Winelands’ pastural scenery, Dutch architecture, boutiques, galleries, and destination restaurants alone make it worth the trip. The Stellenbosch and Franschhoek valleys make ideal settings for learning about – and tasting – South African wines with a sommelier guide, and we’ll certainly raise a glass or two of pinotage to toast our good fortune.

Enjoy Sunset Cocktails at the Leopard Bar

I’m a sucker for animal prints, and the bar at the 70-room Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa had me at hello. More is more at this posh spot, a fine place to sip a G&T and watch the sun drop into the sea. (And since this is my Wanderlist, I might as well book a night in the Presidential Suite, with the marble soaking tub of my dreams).



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