Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival

Held last weekend, this festival was held on individual farms in the Elgin Wine Valley, who organised their own events. You registered at Peregrine Farm stall, were given your bracelet and wine glass and a comprehensive map (all included in the ticket price) and headed off. It has to be said that you did have to prebook for some of the most popular events
We got up early and drove up the N2 to Oak Valley, where we were booked in for breakfast. It usually takes us exactly an hour and it did again. The weather was grey with a few spits and spots but not unpleasant. This was our welcome "Discovery starts here....!"
Flowers and apples, two of the things Oak Valley does as well as their wine, Wagyu beef, acorn fed pigs and the Pool Room restaurant and deli
Apple box seats and lots of umbrellas in the garden
Lynne chatting to Marketing Manager Brad Gold
This is where you could taste or buy all the available wines from Stef Ellett, who was also responsible for all the hand drawn signage on the farm
Breakfast muffins in the restaurant. Rather too healthy for us
The glorious pool
There were four choices for breakfast, we chose this Croissant with smoked salmon trout, red onions, cucumber, cream cheese, and caper berries. A very good start to the day. As was the good cup of black coffee
Chef Gordon Manuel in his kitchen
We had long chats about food. We always do
People began to arrive
Another stunning display. Oak Valley farm flowers, which you will find in Woolworths and other flower vendors. Oak Valley is one of the largest growers of cut flowers
Time for a tasting
The wines available
The ancient oaks
From Oak Valley, we called in at Elgin Vintners' new venue.
They had a food truck and ice cream in the garden
Inside the elegant tasting room
The wines for sale
Four almost well behaved imps waiting for the band to start playing
Then it was off to Highlands Road. Croquet was being played next to the dam
Winemaker Vanessa Simkiss had the wines were ready for tasting
The views are lovely from the terrace
Owner Michael White was behind the counter serving wine and we met some old friends who were at the Festival for the weekend
Pride of place a recent award for the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
Good live music
Off to Shannon to find that they had Santa Annas from Gordon’s Bay cooking on their portable smoker
We were not sure what Broadcaster Jon Meinking was saying. We did not owe him part of that bill! You paid first then ordered your food or wine
They had put up a marquee as rain was threatening. James Downes was behind the counter serving the wines
with his brother Stuart and Tanya Beutler, who looks after their exports on a normal day
A Radio day! Guy McDonald of Magic Radio was also there with Jon Meinking and Seven Springs winemaker Riana van der Merwe
There is no hiding behind those superb wines James. They are made by Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson, one of the reasons we like them so much
James & Libby Downes with their birthday girl
James and Stuart own the Shannon wine company, James is the farmer - the vineyards are meticulous. Stuart is a major wine exporter and importer, in addition to his responsibilities at Shannon
Lynne chatting to Seven Springs winemaker Riana van der Merwe
There was an art table for children, supervised by Tanya Beutler's daughter Julia Torr
And good music all day from Piano Ben
The Santa Annas roasting their pork and beef in the smoker. They serve Latin American and Southern Barbecue style food and are available for hire
John made a good choice with the roast pork with excellent crackling, chilli sauce, a baked potato with sour cream and a salad. Lynne had the roasted short rib. Lots of them, falling off the bone, but not a lot of flavour. This also came with a salad and a coriander pesto. We are not fresh coriander fans
Girls having fun. Riana van der Merwe and Frieda Lloyd, Manager of Cape Whale Coast Tourism and Coordinator of the Hemel-en-Aarde Winegrowers' Association
A dog with lots of character, owned by Libby Downes. This terrier treats an apple like a ball and wants you to play along by throwing it. Only in Elgin, the Apple capital of the South
Yes, you are playing with me!
Gotcha! Note he has taken a bite out of the apple too
The Palmiet River runs alongside the farm and it looks full, but it is deceptive, the river is dammed just a bit further down

Autumn leaves and olive season. The rain had begun, it was time to head home. Thank you Elgin for a lovely day

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