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April 2008 - Vintage Charts

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Take A Trip Into Fantasia At The Cape Winelands

It's easy to forget you're that you're still in South Africa while standing with your feet on the plush green valleys of the Cape Winelands. The historical backdrop of gabled Cape Dutch villa's and leafy vineyards creates a setting like something from a fantasy flick. Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Pniel are home to the finest and most distinguished wines of the world, it's hard to believe it's only a 45 minute drive away from Cape Town.

The Cape Winelands currently ranks as the most prominent wine-producing location in the Western Cape. It boasts a collection of more than 200 cellars each heaving with century old bottles of classics. It's no wonder many tourists still refer to the winelands as South Africa's best kept secret.

The Famous Four

Enclosed by a mountain valley and dazzling scenery, Stellenbosch boasts a picturesque view of the Cape Winelands. It is the second oldest town in the country and many of the historical effigies can still be found present in the town today. The Toy and Miniature Museum has become a trademark for the fruitful town being the only one of its kind in South Africa. On your list of wine estates to visit be sure to add Spier right at the very top, it's a popular one and certainly a must see!

The aforementioned Afrikaans Language Monument is situated in Paarl along the 2km stretch of the Main Road. A mere 56km stretch from Cape Town, Paarl is the town rich in both architectural beauty and natural scenery. Paarl landed its name after a huge granite boulder rock, known as The Paarl Mountain, which overlooks the town.

Everything creative, artistic and culinary is best done in Franschoek. It's the town to stop at when you hungry for some rich cuisine and gourmet cheese. While driving into Franschoek you are able to see the spectacular Simonsberg and Wemmershoek Mountains. And yes, it's in Franschoek that our delicious Simonsberg creamy cheese spread originates from.

Wellington is synonymous with the scenic Bain's Kloof Pass. The Pass links Wellington to Ceres and the long, twisty road provides you with a breath-taking view of the large, open valleys.

Recreation At The Cape Winelands

Summers are always the most blissful times at the winelands. Fruit picking tours are open to the public and visitors are encouraged to leisurely pick their own strawberries, grapes, cherries or peaches fresh from the vineyards. And there are absolutely no limitations, as long as you pay for what you pick. After the tour your pickings are weighed and you can pay for it per kg. What better time to experience the true lifestyle than in summer when all the fruit are fresh, ripe and juicy.

Take a captivating trip into the distant past as you peep into the lifestyle of those who walked the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch before you. If you're a history buff you might want to make a stop at the Hugenot Memorial Monument and Afrikaans Language Monument, they're rich in fascinating facts and sculptures of the winelands' colourful history. You'll learn some intriguing details like who founded the winelands, the first wine cellar and how the names for the villages were chosen.

But tours to the vibrant little villages are not all there is to do in the countryside. The winelands are surrounded by oodles of outdoor museums, open-air theaters and imaginative arts and crafts galleries that catches the eye of many a tourist.

Adventure also doesn't lie far back. Hiking, mountain biking, surfing, canoeing, abseiling and kloofing are just a few of the stunts the locals get up to in their leisure time. Go game viewing at one of the many game reserves at the winelands or make a splash in a tranquilizing rock pool, or if you really want to get the feel of the countryside in your bloodstream then hop right onto a horse-back safari tour for your own exploration pleasure.

Wining and Dining

How does sweet strawberry wine and creamy camembert spread nice and thick on a light, crisp cracker sound? The chef's in this beautiful place certainly know what they're doing when it comes to cooking. Some of the best restaurants in the country are located in the Cape Winelands and three of the country's top ten restaurants are based in Franschoek. You will be tempted to indulge when you've first treated your taste-buds to first-rate South African cuisine ranging from exotic buffets to conventional meals and home-made cheeses. Everything's a dish!

The Cape Winelands has become one of the best places to visit for tourists. It's the superb natural splendor, the rich cultural heritage and the world famous distinguished wines that make the Cape Winelands equivalent to all the best that South Africa has to offer.

About the Author

Villa Grande offers warm-hearted guest house accommodation in Stellenbosch and is situated in the historic centre of the town in the beautiful Cape winelands(

Short Review on Vintage Charts

Wine and Cheese Gifts

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Vintage Charts Items For Viewing

Riedel Sommelier Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio Wine Glass (1)

The Riedel Sommelier wine glass line is the top-of-the-line series of stemware from the legendary Riedel. Wine experts agree that glassware makes a profound difference on how wines taste. Riedel Sommelier wine glasses are the benchmark and the most successful series of hand-made glasses in the world. Each Sommelier wine glass is individually made of 24% lead crystal: the wine glass bowls are mouth-blown into a mould the stem and base are handcrafted using ancient glass-making methods. The Riedel Sommelier Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Grigio Wine Glass is suitable for all styles of Sauvignon Blanc from the grassy mineral wines of the Loire to the oak-aged honeyed blends from Bordeaux as well as fresh and vibrant Pinot Grigio. The tall slim glass offers freshness and intensity on the nose a harmonious palate with an excellent balance of fruit and acidity and a minerally finish. Recommended for: Bordeaux (white) Chenin Blanc Fumé Blanc Gewürztraminer Loire (Blanc) Sémillon. 9-1/4'H 12-3/8oz. Attention California residents. Proposition 65 WARNING.

Price: 60.00 USD

Headlines on Vintage Charts

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The type of alcohol drunk makes a difference. Darker sweeter drinks have more congeners (complex organic molecules of which methanol is one). Therefore brandy, sherry, red wine and whiskey will give more of a hangover than white wine and vodka.

Tue, 26 Jun 2007 21:32:58 PDT
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Fri, 10 Aug 2007 10:00:03 PDT
From the Cocaine-laced Wine of France in the 1800s, to the devastating addiction to Absinthe, and the little known Salamander Brandy from the Slavic region, this history of drug-booze is a fascinating one.

Black Star Farms a winery in beautiful Suttons Bay Michigan

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 13:47:56 PST
We are a small winery with a hand-crafted approach to winemaking located on the same 45th Parallel that runs through some of the great wine regions of the world. We produce classic varietal wines and fruit brandies of high character and balance.

Don’t Have the Holidays Without a Little Punch

Thu, 20 Dec 2007 17:51:00 PST
This basic recipe for Christmas Punch never steers a party wrong, with its combination of brandy, Cointreau, fresh oranges, and a large helping of Champagne or sparkling wine. It’s easy to modify to personal taste as well. Not fruity enough?...

Small Oak Barrels the Best Way to Store Your Port

Wed, 26 Dec 2007 23:14:26 PST
You can purchase small oak barrels, almost identical to oak barrels used in winemaking, only smaller, such as 4 litres or up to 25 litres. These barrels are fantastic for storing port or excess left over wine. You can gradually add to the barrel with spirit such as brandy and liquer, add some sugar and wine and viola, your own homemade port.

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