For weeks I’ve been longingly drowning in my own #fomo when I look at all the social media updates about the harvest festivals happening around Cape Town. This time of the year is a busy one for the wine industry, as all the vineyards are getting ready to harvest. Finally, finally (!) an invite from Muratie Wine Estate crossed my desk to join the Melck family for their annual harvest fest. I was on it faster than you can say “red grapes, white grapes.”
There are enchanting places where one can escape life’s hustle and bustle, and Muratie is one of those magical treasures. Hidden away in the exquisite Knorhoek valley, with a perfect view of Table Mountain, Muratie is as old as history itself, with a unique, almost tangible old-world ambience. The passion for preserving the estate’s rich, centuries-old heritage is captured in every nook and cranny of this family farm. Beautiful old Cape Dutch buildings, crumbling statues, antique wine-making equipment, and the quaint tasting room with its cobwebs, stained glass windows and art, are all set in a secret garden, a lush green haven of peace and tranquility.
The festival, which takes place under the ancient oaks that guard the historic wine estate, is a celebratory family event featuring good food, fine wine, great company, live music and lots of fun stomping newly-harvested grapes. (Hazell PR).
After a quick pit-stop in Stellenbosch to fix a flat tyre in record time (as one does when there’s wine waiting), we arrived at the lush wine estate of Muratie just before noon. The Tall Hedonist and I took a cool stroll through the expansive shady gardens to where we could hear a lot of bustle happening under the huge oak trees adjacent to the old farmstead.
As we arrived, we were welcomed with true family farm hospitality and shown to our media table with our goodie bags in hand. A quick run-down of the day’s activities and we were free to explore and indulge. After a few hello’s and catch-ups with fellow foodie friends at the media table, we decided to start the afternoon at a leisurely pace with some wine and a light lunch.
Soon, Desmond, National Sales & Marketing Manager of Muratie, ushered out armfuls of sparkling glasses, bottles of wine in ice buckets and the most beautifully overflowing cheese platters imaginable. He made us feel incredibly welcome and was available throughout the day to answer questions or just to chat and have a laugh.
As we sat and nibbled and sipped under the shady trees, I took a moment to look around. The al-fresco restaurant patio was filled to the brim with families, couples, kiddies and groups of friends, all enjoying the harvest festival in full. Tucked into the corner was the Kitchen Jamming Blues Band, who set the tone for a relaxed and happy atmosphere. There were picnic blankets laid out on the lawns overlooking the vineyards, and in the background we could hear the cheers and laughter from the grape stomping. The farm tractor did lazy rounds of the estate with loads of excited kids (and adults!) in tow, as it offered a bird’s eye view of the property and vines. We were in for a treat!
But before anything was to happen, Desmond treated us to a special tasting of their ridiculously delicious and elegant Lady Alice MCC Rosé 2015. The colour is exquisitely rose-gold in shade; the beading beautiful and the mousse delicately fine. Such a work of art, and definitely at the top of my current MCC list.
After we were snacked out, Desmond offered to take us on a guided walking tour of the farm, including stops at the old and new cellars, the tasting room, the original farmstead and the art gallery. Throughout the walk he shared interesting facts with us and took us on a visual tour through the history of the farm. It was incredibly interesting and helped us to understand the firm underlying ethos of Muratie, and why honouring tradition is so important to them.
After the tour and a visit to the tasting room and cellars, we decided to give the grape stomping a go. It looked messy and fun at the same time, but the squeals of laughter coming from the barrels convinced me that I had to participate. I challenged The Tall Hedonist to a stomping romp, knowing that he has the advantage of longer legs. It seems as if shorter legs are the answer, my friends! I only managed to stomp a few milliliters more grape juice than he did at the end of our round, but he’s never going to hear the end of it! It’s quite an intense work-out, I must admit.
A tractor ride and more lunch
Exhausted from the grape stomp romp, we swang past the media table to top up our glasses (it’s a thirsty work, okay!) and hopped onto the tractor for an unhurried ride around the estate. It was a beautiful sight – overlooking all the vines hanging low and heavy with grapes, mountains and clouds for days and gorgeous views over Stellenbosch. The ride was over far too soon and we returned to our table for some proper lunch.
We each had a bowl of steaming chicken curry with rice, and shared a delicious malva pudding for dessert, paired with more wine and chats. At this point I declared my two Muratie favourites of the day: their white blend, Laurens Campher 2018 and the 2014 Blended Red.
The Tall Hedonist and I were reluctant to leave, for as the afternoon wore on, the music picked up a bit, the crowd got a bit louder and the sunshine a bit warmer. We sat tapping our feet with a big glass of wine in hand, big smiles all round. Life was so very good in that moment.
A gorgeous day out in Stellenbosch spent with the Muratie family, celebrating the annual harvest for 2019. Good, solid wines and good, solid foundations, literally and figuratively. I’ll happily return any day with only fond memories of the harvest festival, and to enjoy their award-winning wines under the giant old oaks.
Second photographer and photo credit: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.