S. Africa: Part 2 Wine country Franschhoek
History: The area was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 with one single aim: to provide fresh food to the company's merchant fleet on their voyages to India and surrounding areas. But much more evolved than that - the establishment of a trading station led to a flourishing wine industry and later to the birth of a nation.
Jan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape, planted a vineyard in 1655, and on 2 February 1659, the first wine was made from Cape grapes. This led to the planting of vines on a larger scale. There were many setbacks in the beginning, chiefly because of the farmers' ignorance of viticulture. Things improved when Van Riebeeck was succeeded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel (where Stellenbosch got its name), who was not only enthusiastic but very knowledgeable about viticulture and wine making.
First stop was Plaisir De Merle. It was an early start at 10 am so we were the only ones there (not surprisingly)
Estates were fairly close together but the drives up to the vineyards through the gates were gorgeous, long drives to get to the actual estate
The Cape Dutch architecture in much of the area is unspoilt. They are pretty strict on renovations and new construction in order to preserve the original architecture. This was seen in all the vineyards we went to.
Again, it was early
We tried to take pictures with whoever poured for us and educated us on the wines
Next stop for the afternoon:
I realize this is not the most flattering photo for the lady in green...
Time for lunch at La Petite Ferme
Getting artsy with the photo developing
We took some time to explore the downtown area and took a small break from the wine tastings. Cute little town with charming boutiques
Loved how the Post Office had this amazing mountain in the background
My little men again
Back to business at Boschendal
These flowers were everywhere, gorgeous
The last vineyard of the day was probably our favorite
I think we both could get used to this
Took the last picture of the day with our guide, Pen. She was great and really made the day. Highly recommend using a guide if you go.
More on our second day in the vineyard soon!