05 December 2012 by Denise Slabbert

A taste of the Klein Karoo

Next time you’re in the Klein Karoo, stop off at Karusa vineyard for a spot of home-grown hospitality and some mighty fine Oudtshoorn wine.

Karusa wine from the Klein Karoo

If you are heading for the Klein Karoo, near the Oudtshoorn area, keep an eye out for the Karusa vineyard in the village of Schoemanshoek, set against the Swartberg mountains.

The Karusa vineyard, set in the Swartberg mountains

The vineyard is a family-managed private winery, and is fast earning a reputation for its Mediterranean- and Cap Classique-type wines. Cultivars being grown are Shiraz, Viognier, Mourvedre, Grenache Noir, as well as Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay and native pinotage. Winemaker Jacques Conradie has worked in France, as well as for South African wineries such as Graham Beck Wine and Bon Cap.

From Mondays to Saturdays, you can swing by for a tasting in a rustic old farmhouse (it dates back more than a century) that leads to a wine garden.

To assist customers in making a choice, refrigeration and lighting are kept to optimum levels, quality stemware is used, and staff are quick to supply information. If you get there in time for lunch, you can enjoy a tapas-style meal that includes local delicacies such as ostrich carpaccio, olives and cheeses. The venue can also be hired for private functions.

It’s a fitting reward for estate manager Theo Landman, who has a adopted a motto of ‘no shortcuts’ and ‘quality first’.

Despite its aridity, the Karoo’s great sunshine and minimal frost are kind to the farm’s orchards, which are successfully growing stone fruit such as apricots, plums, pluots (a cross between an apricot and a plum) and nectarines. Marks & Spencer was so impressed it awarded the farm ‘Field to Fork' (a standard for fresh produce) accreditation. It’s a fitting reward for estate manager Theo Landman, who has a adopted a motto of 'no shortcuts' and 'quality first'.

There’s also a full-grain craft brewery, the first and only in the Klein Karoo. Using locally grown hops, malted barley from Caledon and the sweet water from the great Swartberg, Karusa produces complex aromatic styled ale.

Look out for the Karusa label when next visiting the Klein Karoo. All images courtesy Karusa vineyard

Category: Food & Wine

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