Art and wine tours
The Cape winelands are filled with both visual and epicurean delights; dramatic scenery, gourmet restaurants and award winning wineries. A trend has developed over the years in bringing the art and wine cultures together and a number of wineries are now displaying art galleries at their respective tasting venues. Here is a list of my top art and wine experiences in the Stellenbosch wine valley.
Situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg mountains is one of South Africa’s most iconic estates; Kanonkop. Its history is entrenched in the establishment of pinotage as a respected grape varietal and Kanonkop is today considered one of South Africa’s premium wine producers.
The art gallery is situated inside the wine cellar and houses a collection of South African investment art from the traditional to the abstract. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics and glass.
Neighbour to Kanonkop is Muratie wine estate, another must-visit for those who appreciate wine, art and a touch of history. Muratie produces quality whites, reds and fortified wines, which can be tasted in their ramshackle cobwebbed cellar tasting venue. There are a series of different passages and rooms to explore, one of which leads to the art collection of GP Canitz, a former owner of Muratie.
George Paul Canitz, owned Muratie from 1927-1958. He was a passionate painter and people came from all over to visit Muratie and buy his paintings. He also planted the first pinot noir vines on the farm in 1927, which was also a first for South Africa. One of his paintings has been used as the label for Muratie’s Amber Forever wine label, which depicts one of his models who is thought to also have been one of his mistresses.
Situated in the Idas valley in Stellenbosch is Glenelly Wine Estate, owned by May de Lencquesaing, a remarkable women who only started her wine career at the age of 50 years. Before setting her sights on South Africa in 2003, May was the owner of the famous Bordeaux Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande for 30 years and is considered a respected ambassador for the Bordeaux region.
Apart from her passion for producing fine wine she also has a love for glass art and believes the two have many parallels. Wine with character is created from the purest soil and glass is created from sand, the main constituent of soil. Both the winemaker and artist must then breathe life into their respective creations. She has established another incredible glass collection at Glenelly , which includes an original Salvador Dali piece along with ancient pieces from China, Syria and Afghanistan, some hundreds of years old.
Delaire Graff, located on the Hells Hoogte Pass in Stellenbosch is indeed a living breathing work of art, from the dramatic mountain scenery, nurtured gardens, beautiful architecture, Graff Diamond boutique and Laurence Graff’s personal art collection which is displayed throughout the Estate.
There is plenty to infatuate the visitor, including superb wines, fine dining, luxury accommodation and spa. The art collection includes among others works from sculptors Dylan Lewis, Anton Smit and Deborah Bell and paintings by Cecil Skotnes, Sidney Kumalo, Lionel Smit and probably the most famous piece, Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese girl which is displayed at the foyer entrance.
Tokara is another estate that has embraced the art and wine connection and various pieces of art are found around the property from incredible sculptures in the gardens to a gallery at the entrance of the estate. Various exhibitions take place throughout the year in the gallery and also in the sculpture garden at their delicatessen.
The restaurant at Tokara is considered one of the best in the winelands and the delicatessen offers a more casual dining option. They have a fabulous selection of top class wines, a potstill brandy and produce their own olive oils.
Hidden Valley Wines is situated in one of the most gorgeous parts of Stellenbosch along the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains. Their restaurant, Overture, has consistently been voted as one of the top restaurants in the country and a second, Bertus Basson, restaurant is currently in the making.
New ownership of the estate saw an expansion in their wine range but also the addition of a Willie Botha Art gallery. Willie Botha specializes in bronze sculptures, one of which was commissioned for the entrance of HVW. It is of a bronze face and is now also used as the image on their new wine labels.
Cavalli wine estate is a beautiful modern estate which includes a winery, restaurant, art gallery, boutique and equestrian centre. The name i Cavalli is translated from Italilan meaning, “the horses “, and is a representation of the owners love of horses, wine and cuisine.
The Equus restaurant has incredible views and offers contemporary cuisine in a relaxed environment. Below the restaurant is the wine tasting room, a boutique and an art gallery which includes pieces from the private Cavalli collection along with other exhibitions which are continually rotated. Sculptural pieces are located throughout the estate and complement the modern architecture and natural scenery.
Should you wish to venture on a wine and art tour of Stellenbosch, get in touch and let me know which of these estates is on the top of your list?
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