I’ve explored the vineyards of Stellenbosch many a time – on foot, by car … but by bicycle? Well no, never.
Feeling more comfortable on a stationary spinning bike than ‘the real deal’, my trepidations were destroyed when, surrounded by the beauty of the Stellenbosch Mountains, we explored the vineyards on two wheels with Bikes ‘n Wines.
Starting from their Stellenbosch base, our first stop saw us enjoy a wine tasting at Thandi Wines, a Fair Trade accredited farm that aims to economically and socially uplift disadvantaged communities in the area. We received exclusive access to the cellars to brush up our knowledge of the winemaking process, before heading to our second venue.
If you think it a bit odd to combine wine-drinking with exercise, I did too, but pushing my I-didn’t-have-breakfast-feeling-tipsy-already disposition aside, I combatted the two inclines with more ease than I anticipated. If you tell yourself at this point, ‘I’m too unfit, I can’t ride off-road, I don’t exercise enough’, I say: you can. And you should. It’s a fun, endorphin-rich experience that offers you satisfactory reward for your efforts – wine!
Our second stop saw us at the boutique winery LovanE, a small 2.5 ha estate that grows only Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drinking their wine is something special, as it’s only bottled in limited quantities and is as smooth as it is spicy. If you like a stronger, more mature wine, I recommend the Tumkulu. With only 2012 bottles produced, its earthy flavours balance well with notes of blackcurrant and subtle cinnamon. LovanE wine can only be bought from the estate, so a visit to the beautiful grounds is in order.
We toasted the end of our 10 km cycle with bubbly from Vredenheim Winery, while enjoying a platter lunch together at Barrique Restaurant.
Depending on which route you choose, your selection of wineries and lunch spots will differ. Bikes ‘n Wines offers tours in all six of the Cape’s wine regions, with a choice of full-day tours, half-day tours and even multi-day tours. It’s an adventure in the Winelands that really is a unique break from your average wine-tasting experience.
Where Tours leave from Cape Town Tourism Centre in the CBD. See the various tours on offer here.
Cost Day tours start from R500 pp, overnight tours from R2 050 pp
Contact +27 21 823 8790, www.bikesnwines.com
Photography Lisa Wallace, courtesy