Robertson Wine Valley… more than an experience. It’s a lifestyle!

Robertson Wine Valley… more than an experience. It’s a lifestyle!
Nicolette Waterford

by Nicolette Waterford

Wine With Heart

Just before crossing the border from the Boland into the Little Karoo, the Robertson Wine Valley presents you with the splendour of the beautiful Cape Winelands one last time. This perfect marriage of blue sky, green vines, vibrant people and country hospitality at its best makes you slow down, linger a bit and indulge in all that this beautiful valley of wine and roses has to offer.

For more than a century people from all over the world have been drawn here to put down roots, cultivate and produce wines. Reminiscent of the days of old, when the ebb and flow of the seasons gave purpose to our very existence, nature and man still come together to create magic.

Spring is as essential as the fecund earth, summer as the sunshine. The preparation of autumn gives meaning to the rain and restfulness of winter. It is only when we relish the cycle of life and honour the demands time makes on us, that nature will allow the human hand to shape vine and grape into the nectar of the gods.

Thousands of people make the journey to the Valley year after year, whether it be to indulge in the fruits of the earth at one of the many wineries, to savour the local olive and cheese products, relax at the natural hot springs, enjoy the magnificence of nature on a quiet cruise down the Breede River, or maybe one of the many outdoor activities on offer which include hiking, fishing, game drives or 4×4 routes.
And of course they come for the festivities.

When the sun rides high in the heavens, it is time to bring in the harvest, a time when, in days of old, the whole community came together. Family, neighbours and friends gathered to work from sunrise to sundown to bring in the crop. Our sense of community may have changed, but it is still a time for people, who are passionate about the potential within a humble bunch of grapes, to come together.

Children still play in the vineyards while brothers or best friends compete to collect a better share and catch the eye of a pretty girl. There are refreshments aplenty and food for the soul as well. Sore muscles will be as pleasant a reminder of a day’s work well done as the heft of the grape is of the summer. Yet nothing is as special as the emptying of overflowing baskets into barrels and the rolling up of pants – there are grapes to be stomped on and fun to be had – this is our “Hands-on-Harvest” festival.

While the vineyards are still decked out in the last vestiges of orange and yellow and late autumn starts to tickle its cold fingers down your spine, it is time to throw open the barn doors and invite the world to come and celebrate at our Wacky Wine Weekend held annually in June.

Time has been the winemaker’s assistant and the first of the crop is ready to drink. Throughout the Valley tents are up and tables and chairs dusted off. Musicians come from far and wide and a buzz of excitement vibrates through the air. We rejoice in the product of last year’s labour and the rest that is to come and in life itself.

Once winter has pulled its blanket over the earth and the ground is frozen solid, we gather our loved ones around us and savour life. If time normally runs, she now sashays for one to enjoy the annual “Robertson Slow”.
Everything we do has a tinge of opulence and indulgence. Fires are lit in hearths and we listen to stories while drinking robust reds and soothing sweets. The gleam of candlelight on polished wood is as rich as the food we eat, the dancing flames as smooth as velvet. We find comfort in friends, in stories and in company while an aroma of spices fill the air. It is the season of flavoursome curries and stews, honeyed pastries and pleasing pastas.

Out of the cocoon of winter comes “Wine on the River” and the fresh and colourful palette of spring. This is the season of growth and renewal. Every year there are new shoots in the vineyards and a new beginning for the rest of us.

The rays of the sun invite us to throw open the shutters, open windows to let in fresh air and dust off the garden furniture. We fall in love, reconnect with old friends, drink Chardonnay and Sauvignon and sway to the soothing sounds of jazz and blues.

The season invites us. We can start afresh, make the most of our time, embrace the outdoors, tone down and become a better and lighter version of our indulgent winter self. So bring out the picnic blankets, pack the baskets of fruit and wine and let us spend some time on the river, away from it all.

With more than 50 award-winning wineries in the area one is spoilt for choice when it comes to wine. The friendly staff will guide you on this journey, whether you are a seasoned wine taster, or exploring the world of wine for the first time.
Come and experience our valley for yourself – you will definitely return for more.