Lunch at Waterkloof, the spectacular ‘cellar in the sky’, reaffirms my belief that the Cape Winelands is the world’s premier wine tourism destination.
Designed by the award winning Australian based architectural firm, Castle Rock Design, the cellar, tasting rooms and restaurant show off the magnificent wrap around views over False Bay and the Helderberg Mountain range.
Innovation, design and taking care of the earth
It is not a conventional wine farm. Innovation and design go beyond the beautiful building. Waterkloof’s Circumstance Cape Coral, a Mourvèdre based Rosé, is introduced with these words by Edward Young: “Who does the best that circumstances allow, does well, acts nobly, angels could do no more”. These words sum up Waterkloof for me – it is the finest of examples of the magic that happens when passion, innovation and a genuine care for the earth collide.
Former UK wine merchant, Paul Boutinot and his team do things a little different and it is paying off, making Waterkloof stand out amongst the hundreds of exceptional wine estates in the Cape. They have chosen Biodynamic farming, an imperfect, natural agricultural process of cultivation based on the “sensitive intelligence” of an interconnected natural world. As Biodynamic farmers, Paul says: “We work to create a diverse, balanced ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself.”
More than 50% of the estate is indigenous fynbos, left deliberately to help bring back the natural organisms that protect the soil and environment. The quality of the soil is further enhanced by the organic and biodynamic vineyard processes followed. Horses can be seen strolling around the vineyards, not just because it is pleasing to look at, but because they help to further work with the soil.The long term goal is to increase the immunity of the vines and to produce excellent hand crafted wines whilst taking good care of the environment.
Waterkloof Wine Farm has been awarded BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) Champion status which means that they are officially accredited for their biodynamic farming practices that help improve the quality of the grapes and protect the natural environment.
Fine dining in the sky
The Restaurant at Waterkloof is one of my personal favourite dining experiences in the Cape Winelands. Here French chef Gregory Czarnecki serves his signature classical cuisine with a modern French twist and great attention to detail. The scallops and trout are phenomenal and perfectly paired with their Circle of Life White range that I once described to Paul Boutinot simply as “just delicious”.
As I spend time settling into and discovering more of the Cape Winelands, enjoying the wonders it offers visitors, I am more and more excited to work with the wine and tourism industry from the region to ensure that it takes its place as one of the World’s greatest tourism destinations and visitor attractions. Wine tourism does not only complement local wine production and trade, but stimulates the local economic development and introduces the world to the incredible stories and people working to make a positive difference.
By Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold