23 June 2012 by Robyn Campbell

Beyond the tasting room

Enjoy a bespoke wine tour created just for you with 1 of the country’s foremost wine experts.

Fiona McDonald

In general, and I am generalising, few overseas wine lovers who visit our Cape Winelands for the 1st time are familiar with our wine and wine regions beyond their good-value price tag at stores like Tesco and Konsum.

A few days of self-drive touring, or an on-and-off-the-bus day trip, do little to lift the lid on our 350-year-old winemaking heritage, or show the strides the industry is making towards democracy and modernity.

For wine estate visitors, it’s rarely possible to get beyond the tasting room; and while I admit that some tasting rooms are so zhoosh you don’t particularly want to leave, there are those wine lovers who hanker after more than a homogeneous tasting experience.

Barrel tasting

Barrel tasting

Enter Fiona McDonald, wine writer and critic, with years of wine tasting and judging experience. Fiona is a viticultural Yoda, able to take you to wine estates, and into wine cellars, where no wine lover has gone before. Alright, I know I’ve muddled my sci-fi metaphors, but you get my drift. 

Fiona has excellent contacts with most South African wineries, so you’re assured of something special beyond the tasting room.

Fiona’s services are truly bespoke, and are aimed at wine lovers with more than a passing interest in wine – and, no, passing the bottle doesn’t count!

It’s not often that you’ll get to trawl the winelands with a former Wine magazine editor as your tour guide.

Because Fiona has really good contacts with most South African wineries, you’re assured of something special beyond the tasting-room set-up – either tastings directly from the barrel or tank, or 1-on-1 time with a member of the winemaking staff.

Fiona takes the time to discover the level of knowledge and interest of potential clients, and what it is they’d like to experience and for what length of time. If they’re nuts about Burgundy, or want a varietal-focused tour, Fiona will tailor the outing accordingly.

In addition to sharing her encyclopaedic knowledge of wine with her inimitable wit and good humour, Fee (Fiona) will also include general interest elements as well. So if you fancy some segway touring or mountain biking with your Shiraz tasting, or want to combine wine tasting with game viewing or whale watching, Fiona is your gal.

Visit top wine estates

Visit top wine estates

Category: Food & Wine

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