Monday, October 26, 2015

Robertson Wine on the River Festival

The great (Klein) Karoo Trek started with Wine on the River's 10th Anniversary
We set off on Saturday morning and aimed for Robertson for the 10th Wine on the River Festival, where we would spend both Saturday and Sunday. We haven't been to all 10; we've only missed one when we were away from home. It is one of our favourite events each year. The people are friendly, the wines superb (many are excellent value) and the venue alongside the Breede river is very special. You pay one entrance fee, you get a glass and you can taste all day, every day. There are also very good food stands. It's a formula which works
We normally go on a Sunday and this year confirmed our belief that for us aging folk, Sunday is quieter. The festival was pumping when we arrived. It fact, it was so busy that the normally ample parking field was full and we were directed to park next door at Van Loveren, from where a shuttle took us to the festival, held on the riverside at Goudmyn Farm
The grapes are just beginning to develop and many vines are bursting with flowers or baby berries
On the shuttle bus
Huge happy crowds enjoying themselves
It was HOT and every bit of shade had been taken
Elizma Botha has been the extremely competent and innovative organiser of the Robertson Wine Valley festivals for the last 6½ years and we are sad to report that she is leaving to go and work with her husband after a very successful career with the Robertson Wine Valley. We will miss her. The new appointee is Beatrix Galloway, who is originally from Robertson, and she will take over the reins in early December
We were pleased to see that Zandvliet (recently bought from Paul de Wet by Clemengold) were still serving our favourite riverside lunch. Lynne had the country lamb chops with good crisp onion rings and chips - which were very soggy, sadly, even though we asked for them to be crisp
John had the yellowtail in batter with the same accompaniments. We found a table and chairs on the side of the river to enjoy them, but there was no shade and it was extremely hot. We had been given a bottle of Graham Beck Brut and enjoyed this with our lunch, but it was hard to keep it cool
You could do a tour of the vineyards on the other side of the Breede River. This is the tractor and trailer crossing the weir, which is why it looks a little submerged
This year they had a duck race for charity sponsored by Sanlam. The beneficiary was the Bonnie-People Project, an early childhood development and after-school facility. You bought a duck for R100 donation and if it won you got a prize of R5000. Corporate could also buy a duck for R1000 and the winner got a prize of R5000 donated to the charity of their choice
We left during the early afternoon to escape the heat and the crowds and returned on Sunday morning to enjoy more of the festival

Bonnievale Winemaker and owner of Arendsig wines with one of his pretty twins. Talented Lourens van der Westhuizen also makes wine for many other farms, hotels and restaurants in the larger Robertson, Bonnievale &Montague Area
Arendsig's clever display of their wines, with descriptions
 Yegan Naidoo of Rivergold Reelin Private Cellar in Bonnievale, a new farm for us, had a very good 2010 Chenin blanc - made by neighbour Lourens van der Westhuizen, so good we bought a case of it. In fact we bought four boxes of wine at the Festival
Owner-chef of award winning Mimosa Lodge in Montagu, Bernhard Hess, serving their wines
And we got our Sunday lunch on their stand. Lynne had the excellent sushi, John the crisp sweet tempura prawns
We had vouchers for the riverboat and it was a great way to while away some of the afternoon
This wonderful aerial acrobat of a barn swallow seated himself on the pontoon of the boat to spot insects on the water
and would then swoop off to catch them, even flying right under the boat between the pontoons
What a lovely house to have right on the river's edge. It can be rented from Goudmyn River Chalets. We certainly aspire to one!
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

No comments: