20 September 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Short circuit to the Swartland

A famous Taoist philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, I think, is quoted as saying ‘The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step’.

It’s clear that neither Pooh Bear or his learned Chinese friend ever tried to drive the Sanlam Swartland Wine Route, or they’d know that the journey begins with a long-leave form, a GPS, and baie groot (very big) tank of petrol.

You see, although the Swartland Wine Route is less than 78km from Cape Town, its 25 member cellars - all of whom are worth visiting - are spread over 10 000 square kilometres.

The reason the Swartland’s winemakers choose to hide themselves among the wheat fields as it were, is between the sea and the mountains, is the Swartland’s extraordinarily diverse soils: granite, shale, clay, and slate.

The Swartland’s wine makers are a passionate lot. It’s all blood, sweat and pruning shears as they coax old vines to dig deep into difficult soils to produce small yields from which they craft limited quantities of wonderful wines.

Actually, you’re as likely to see pruning shears or anything mechanical in a Swartland cellar as you are a UFO, because by and large, the Swartland’s winemakers do everything by hand. The old fashioned way. Even the yeasts are wild; occurring naturally in the vineyard.

Which is why when all 25 Swartland winemakers, and the region’s olive growers, the bread bakers (the Swartland is the wheat capital of the Western Cape), and potjiekos makers are prepared trek to Cape Town to let you sample their wares, you know you’re in for a treat.

The Swartland comes to Stone Cottage at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town for 1 day only, on 8 October 2011.

If you’ve never made it up the N7 past Blouberg, or on the R45 beyond Paarl, now’s your chance. Don’t pooh-pooh it.

Santam Swartland Wine Route
Tel:+27 (0)22 487 1133
Fax: +27 (0)22 487 2063
Email: swartlandinfo@westc.co.za

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