28 September 2010 by Kate Turkington

Share a glass of wine with Kathleen and Freddie

Their ancestors took root here well over a century ago, and now Freddie and Kathleen de Wet are still making superb wines from the original vines that their great-grandparents planted and tended so lovingly. Welcome to Excelsior wine estate in Robertson in the Breede River valley in the Cape Winelands.

The couple has also restored the original manor house, an unusual crossover between original Victorian architecture and Cape Dutch - the gables are Cape Dutch, the long shady verandah and bay windows Victorian.  Check out the original yellowwood floors, decorated fireplaces, antiques and handmade furniture.  www.excelsiormanor.co.za

The wine-tasting - because that’s what you’re really here for - takes place at sunset in a wooden cabin on the farm dam where ducks, kingfishers and cormorants go about their evening business. Freddie lines up a selection of his very affordable, Excelsior prize-winning wines for you to taste (his biggest market is the US), then urges you to make your own. Over to a row of wine casks where you choose a bit of this and a bit of that, and bingo, you have your own brew with your own label.

Then it’s back to the Manor House for a hearty dinner of homemade farm soup and bread, veal pie (the house speciality) and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate pudding, with wines carefully chosen by your hosts. Time now to sink into a clawed bath on a Victorian black-and-white tiled floor before snuggling down in a comfortable bed as Cape eagle owls begin their nighttime chorus of soft hooting.

If you’ve time, spend a few days here and go birding, walking, boating or just soaking up the gorgeous countryside.

But don’t forget the corkscrew…

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